PERTH AMBOY — The former City Business Administrator who served under ex-Mayor Joe Vas is seeking election to a seat on the nine-member Board of Education.
Diane Roman, who remained in a city job as director of senior services after Vas was defeated by Mayor Wilda Diaz, announced her candidacy in a local newspaper ad one week ago.
In addition to serving as the city’s supervisor of senior citizen programs, Roman was also selected by Diaz to head Perth Amboy’s volunteer Complete Count Committee to encourage residents to participate in the U.S. Census population count.
Vas, who was originally scheduled to be sentenced this week on federal corruption charges, faces between five and 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 8. He will also serve a five-year mandatory state prison sentence that will run concurrent to his federal prison term.
Vas was convicted of mail fraud related to the 2006 sale of a DeKalb Avenue apartment building owned by the then-Perth Amboy mayor. He was charged with misusing state affordable-housing money to encourage the buyer. Vas also admitted to participating in a ‘straw donor’ scheme to funnel money into his unsuccessful 2006 Congressional campaign.
Observers noted that none of the city employees identified as ‘straw donors’ have been dismissed from their jobs and even top ranking Vas allies still hold powerful positions.
One of them, former Republican Party Chairman Kenneth Gonzalez, was a Board of Education member elected to the City Council with an endorsement from Diaz. Joel Pabon, a former school board member who ran for council on Vas’ ticket in 2008, was elected to city’s legislative body last year.
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