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Many people in New Jersey have multiple public jobs. Still, the arrangement often raises eyebrows.
For a most recent example, we come to Morris County where Freeholder Doug Cabana is about to take a $95,000 a year job as administrator in his hometown of Boonton Township.
And he plans to stay on as a freeholder, a job, in fact, to which he was just reelected this November.
Cabana also serves as municipal prosecutor in a number of county towns, including Dover, Roxbury and Boonton Township. These are part-time gigs, as is, technically, freeholder. But the administrator’s post is full-time. All this has even some Morris Republicans privately questioning the wisdom of one man holding so many taxpaying positions.
If nothing else, why doesn’t Cabana relinquish his freeholder seat now that he has a full-time “day” job?
Asked about that, Cabana mentioned a number of things. One is that there is nothing illegal about the arrangement. Additionally, Cabana said it’s no different than any other local official – mayor, council member – serving as a freeholder. If there is county business directly related to their home towns, they just abstain. Cabana says that as administrator, he will not make municipal policy in Boonton Township; he’ll just carry out the wishes of the township committee.
A freeholder for 22 years, Cabana also said that his experience in county government is invaluable. This suggests his departure would hurt the board.
And he did say that he will relinquish the municipal prosecutor jobs that require him to attend court sessions during the day. Cynics could certainly scoff at this defense, but the real issue here has nothing to do with Cabana or Boonton Township. It has to do with New Jersey, which has no problem with this type of thing. Such multiple job-holding goes on throughout the state and is done by both parties.
Curiously, one man who did have a problem with it – at least at one time – was a former Morris freeholder, and also, ironically, a man who once sued Cabana after a contested primary. That, of course, was Chris Christie, who early in his tenure as governor proposed limiting elected officials to one tax-paying job. Oddly enough, the idea went no where and Christie, at least publicly, seemed to forget about it. That was a shame. And so the status quo remains and probably always will.