Sussex Super Pac Seizes Control Of County Trash

Posted: July 7, 2012 in County Wide, Vendor's Pac
Tags: , , , , , ,

Until a week ago each of Sussex County’s 24 municipalities had control over the future of waste disposal for the county’s 149,265 residents. Until then, each municipality was represented at the Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC).

SWAC had recommended that the county establish a transfer station to take over the county landfill when it reaches capacity in 2018. Now that recommendation is subject to tinkering by a new group established by the Freeholder Board on June 27. The new board is called a “subcommittee” but only two of its five members are elected officials.

The New Jersey Herald reported that Freeholder Director Phil Crabb “appointed himself and Freeholder Rich Zeoli as board members” of the subcommittee. Crabb and Zeoli are closely associated with the Skylands Victory PAC. The remaining three members of the subcommittee are all contributors to, or associates of, the Skylands Victory PAC.

The subcommittee will look at SWAC’s recommendation and others, according to the Herald, and will give the Freeholder Board its recommendation by the end of 2012.

The Freeholders could allow SCMUA to operate the transfer station. The Herald reported that Zeoli said “the subcommittee also is interested in ideas from private businesses as to what to do with trash generated in the county.”

Why do we need another layer of bureaucracy to review a recommendation and to make another recommendation? Why has a Skylands PAC-dominated subcommittee been set up between the representatives of every municipality in the county and the county Freeholders?

A lot of money is involved and a lot of contracts. What the board decides will have an enormous impact on taxes in the county. The process of deciding what to do about the county’s trash should be decided by the municipalities and the Freeholder Board. Unelected outside interests will not help the process.

Freeholder Rich Zeoli is a lame duck board member with a consulting business. He has lobbied in the past for interests with dealings in Sussex County. Has the board taken the necessary steps to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that may arise from a future relationship?

The federal government mandates “cooling off” periods. Here is an outline provided by the watchdog group Public Citizen:

“Revolving door” is a term commonly used to describe a potentially corrupting interrelationship between the private sector and public service. The term is used to describe three distinct transitions for individuals between the private sector and public service:

  • The Government-to-Lobbyist Revolving Door, through which former lawmakers and government employees use their inside connections and knowledge to advance the policy and regulatory interests of their industry clients.
  • The Government-to-Industry Revolving Door, through which public officials move to lucrative private sector roles from which they can use their public service and experience to compromise government procurement contracts and regulatory policy.
  • The Industry-to-Government “Reverse” Revolving Door, through which the appointment of industry leaders and employees to key posts in federal agencies may establish a pro-business bias in policy formulation and regulatory enforcement.

We are asking these questions now because we have knowledge that regular meetings have been taking place between a Skylands Victory PAC member and representatives of a corporation interested in operating a transfer station in Sussex County. Those meetings have taken place at the Mohawk House Restaurant in Sparta.

It is important that this process is transparent. We will provide more details as we get them.

Stay tuned.

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Comments
  1. […] web site went on to report that the PAC was behind a Highlands land grab, that the PAC was seizing control of Sussex County garbage, that the PAC would soon be telling local governments who to hire because “it’s all […]

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