PLAINFIELD – Not that everyone in any given administration has to agree on every policy, or that one can’t back someone for elected office if his ideas fail to line up uniformly with the recipient of his political affection, but Governor Phil Murphy’s Friday bearhugging of Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen did clash somewhat with the governor’s own history of objection to the upper echelons of the Camden County Democratic Organization.
Remember the Camden tax incentive scandal and the governor’s subsequent formation of an investigatory commission?
It also flew in the face of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver’s resistance to a City Council-supported resolution – backed by Carstarphen – putting Camden’s City Finance Department on track to be moved under Camden County control.
By way of background from WHYY:
“On March 9, amid objections from some city residents, Camden City Council approved a resolution authorizing a study to explore moving the department under county auspices through a shared services agreement. The study was expected to take a year and cost the city up to $100,000. The Camden County Board of Commissioners approved the study on March 18.
“The following day, in a letter to Camden Municipal Clerk Luis Pastoriza, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said that the agreement ‘potentially creates unsustainable expenses for Camden, which would only serve to burden a city struggling financially.’ She said while the resolution provided for the county to invoice the city each month for the study, no exact costs are mentioned.
“’A more beneficial solution for Camden may be to build capacity within to facilitate its progress towards financial stability,’ added Oliver, who is the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.”
This afternoon, a day after Murphy officially endorsed Carstarphen for mayor and capped any last-gasp possibility of a (admitted highly unlikely) Murphy-backed insurrection locally, Oliver alighted in Plainfield on the last Saturday before Mayor Adrian Mapp faces the voters come Tuesday.
The Lieutenant Governor (and Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs) reaffirmed her conviction about the City of Camden’s financial destiny.
“Our ultimate goal in Camden is to build capacity so they can be locally governed,” Oliver told InsiderNJ. “We’re not interested in stripping municipalities of local control.
“That is not the best thing for Camden,” the LG said, in reference to the application submitted to her office by former Mayor Frank Moran.
Does she think the governor, who claims to back Carstarphen’s “bold vision” for the City of Camden, can leverage his influence to get the Camden County Democratic Organization and Carstarphen – to see things her way?
“I think Governor Murphy is very influential,” Oliver said.