Westampton’s Lopez asks AG to investigate alleged quid pro quo

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

One of Burlington County’s more interesting 2015 local contests is heating up, Save Jerseyans, as Westampton’s GOP ticket accuses Robert G. Maybury, Jr., a Democrat who is seeking reelection this year along with fellow Dem Robert Thorpe, of quid pro quo behavior underlying a fire chief hire.

Abraham Lopez
Lopez (center rear) attends National Night Out festivities.

In fact, they want New Jersey’s attorney general involved.

Does it all boil down to a matter of $90,000? It all started when Committeeman Maybury cast a deciding vote (the all-Dem board split 3-2) to hire Fire/EMS Chief Jason Carty to a $90,000-a-year post in the immediate aftermath of Carty voting, in his capacity as a then-commissioner with the Mount Holly MUA, to hire Maybury as the MUA’s interim Executive Director… another $90,000 per year position.

The entire ordeal is already the subject of an ethics complaint filed with the New Jersey Local Finance Board as previously reported by Philly.com.

Unfortunate timing? Or something more?

Lopez is crying foul. “Committeeman Maybury and Mr. Carty both used their official, public positions to hire the other to highly-paid public jobs,” the GOP candidate alleged in a statement obtained by Save Jersey. “That is the very definition of a quid pro quo and it’s everything people can’t stand about politics and politicians. That’s why today I am asking the State Attorney General to take a closer look at what’s happened here and make a determination, since clearly the Township Committee cannot be trusted to take a legitimate, unbiased look at this mess.”

And Lopez claims the alleged quid pro quo is just the tip of the iceberg where this one is concerned. As always, we invite you be the judge (we’ll also keep you in the loop regarding any developments).

Abraham is running this year along with realtor Maureen Smith-Hartman who stepped into the race after Republican Karen Sampson withdrew from the ticket in July citing personal and professional obligations. Thorpe, by the way, is filling an unexpired term.

The text of his AG letter is the below the fold:

July 27, 2015

The Honorable John Jay Hoffman Acting New Jersey Attorney General Office of The Attorney General

RJ Hughes Justice Complex 25 Market Street, Box 080

Trenton, NJ 08625-0080 General Hoffman,

I am writing you today to ask that your office open an investigation into a blatant quid pro quo by Westampton Township (Burlington County) Committeeman Robert Maybury and our new Fire/EMS Chief Jason Carty.

As a Philadelphia Inquirer article from February 13, 2015 accurately reports, a complaint has already been filed with the Local Finance Board in response to actions taken by Committeeman Maybury when he cast the deciding vote (3-2) to hire Jason Carty to the $90,000-a-year post he wasn’t qualified for shortly after Carty, as a Commissioner with the Mount Holly MUA, had voted to hire Maybury as that outfit’s interim Executive Director at a cost to ratepayers of $90,000 per year. (Philadelphia Inquirer, “Ethics complaint targets Westampton committeeman,” February 13, 2015, by Jan Hefler)

Unfortunately, the Local Finance Board has simply refused to take action on the complaints it received more than five months ago related to this matter.  Sadly, according to another Philadelphia Inquirer story last week (“Local ethics complaints handled quietly, July 20, 2015), the Board’s failure to do its job in a timely and transparent manner is commonplace and the source of growing consternation to some members of the State Legislature.

While the unethical – and potentially illegal – behavior of Committeeman Maybury and Mr. Carty greatly concern me from a good government standpoint, I am even more concerned that this quid pro quo landed an unqualified applicant in way over his head and put our community at increased risk.

According to his resume, Mr. Carty never held a title higher than “Firefighter” and didn’t provide a single reference from a fire department where previously worked. Despite several attempts, it appears he was unable to pass the New Jersey Civil Service Commission or the Fire Department Level 1 Supervisor Test. We’re talking about a job where people’s lives are on the line every day – both our firefighters and the people they serve.  This was not just a bad hiring; it was a dangerous one.

Given all of that information, why did Committeeman Maybury cast the deciding vote to hire Mr. Carty? My guess is that he had ninety thousand reasons. Thank you very much for your time and prompt attention to this serious matter.

Sincerely, Abraham Lopez

Candidate for Westampton Township Committee

________

18 thoughts on “Westampton’s Lopez asks AG to investigate alleged quid pro quo

  1. Lack factual information:
    -Maybury has worked for the MUA for 30 years and was the 2nd in command when the former director left. The director left and they moved Maybury up.
    -Maybury makes over 100k a year and has done so for over 10 years.
    -Carty resigned from the MUA before Maybury was appointed director.

  2. Can we please stop beating this dead horse? This guy is the sorest loser I have ever seen. Let it go already.

  3. The board hasn’t taken action because these complaints are unfounded and ridiculous And seriously, THIS is what you’re spending your time worrying about?? He’s been in the job for a few months now and he’s doing a good job. Can we address some REAL problems in our town? Stop wasting everyone’s time and tax dollars.

  4. Thanks for bringing attention to this. This guys has next to zero qualifications. Even any of the volunteers have more qualifications than him. Morale at the Westampton Fire House is at an all time low. Our fire man and residents are at risk with him in charge. He’s spends lots of time politicking on the job and taking care of car accidents, but the word is he doesn’t even know how you use the radio when out on calls. Dangerous.

  5. Committeeman Maybury is a despicable embarrassment. Carty was by far one of the least qualified candidates interviewed, yet he still came away with the position? Why? That question needs to be answered. Not only are my tax dollars being wasted, but we have an incompetent person running our fire station. I demand this situation be investigated to its fullest extent. It’s time for real change in this town.

  6. It’s about time that someone made a serious complaint about this. For all you doubters, this action is against the law. Handing out serious positions to further your own career is serious and dangerous. Especially if people are not fully qualified for the job. I don’t know why Mt. Holly is also not concerned. It’s good to know that there are citizens like Abe who are willing to stand up against those who are abusing the system. We must have integrity in government.

  7. I hope Carty sues these clowns for slander. As a firefighter in the next town I work with Westhampton guys all the time and they like what the new chief is doing. If there are any complaints they come from a limited number of people that are mad the old chief “quit” because they were allowed to goof off all day.

  8. If you check the MUA minutes, Carty was still listed as a Commissioner when Maybury was appointed. Carty had voted for Maybury the first time also and Maybury cast the deciding vote for Carty since the vote was 3 to 2.

  9. Morale at all time low? Someone needs to ask the real question: why did the former chief really resign.
    The former chief who tesigned ran a romper room. Let’s talk about the real reason they wanted a new chief. No one wanted to come to work and there were multiple harrasent cases.
    The acting chief did a good job but the township got burned so bad by the former chief they wanted someone from the outside.

  10. fireman13, come on man, westampton spelled with an H. How long you really been working with those guys?

  11. The timing of the appointments is “potentially problematic” as the Township’s own labor law counsel opined according to newspaper reports. The perception of quid pro quo is certainly warranted as Carty was a Commissioner at the MHMUA while Maybury was looking for a promotion at the MHMUA (and got one), while at the same time, Maybury was a Township Committeeman while Carty was cherry-picked as the Township’s new fire chief (a position that he wanted). Despite the lame defense offered up by Solicitor Saponaro that hiring didn’t have to occur from within the ranks of the FD due to the semantics of the actual wording of the position title (typical lawyer, ugh), the reality is that credentials matter. They matter when applying for a job, they matter when being interviewed for a job, and they matter when actually doing the job – especially one related to public safety. Only Committeeman Andre Daniels seemed to have an issue with the Carty appointment – and the willingness to express his opinion in that regard. The question is: Does Carty have the credentials, and if so, the simplest thing to do would be to release them so that the residents can all see for themselves?

  12. How is this still an issue? Westampton is a lovely town but, with all due respect I think there are some high schools with more people. It’s not the Philly Fire Dept. Everything I’ve read said he had a decade of experience in a neighboring town. So what’s the problem – Lopez wanted his brother-in-law hired instead?

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