ROSELLE — A political scheme to replace former Union County Freeholder and Plainfield Councilman Adrian Mapp as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may backfire on Councilmen Jamel Holley and Yves Aubourg, as they pursue support in the June primary election with a potential $2,000 tax hike looming over the average homeowner.
State officials are considering a takeover of municipal finances in the wake of a financial mess left by the plot Holley and Aubourg used to undermine support for Mayor Garrett Smith.
Smith appointed Mapp to the CFO position in 2008, when his allies gained a 4-2 majority on the council after struggling for years against forces loyal to former Assemblyman Neil Cohen, who abruptly resigned when he was caught distributing child pornography on his state-issued computer.
“Due to the fact that Neil was a very strong leader in Roselle, we remain strong and together,” Holley, Cohen’s chief acolyte, told PolitickerNJ.com when he regained control in 2009. “He always asked us to stay together. And we are. We’re winning, and we have a strong relationship with the Union County Democratic Organization.”
Holley, Aubourg and Councilwoman Christine Dansereau first attempted to bring back Roselle Park Chief Financial Officer Ken Blum, a former Roselle employee, but the state quashed the scheme to merge the two municipal finance departments.
Then Holley, Aubourg and Dansereau — with the support of Councilwoman Cecelia D. Ricks — voted to fire Mapp and hire as a consultant Frederick J. Tomkins, who owns the politically-connected Bayonne accounting firm Donohue, Gironda & Doria.
Tomkins was hired at a salary of $1 but his accounting firm was paid $100,000 in hourly fees through the end of November and a $25,000 invoice for December 2009 awaits payment because the Mayor refused to sign the check.
Holley, Aubourg, Dansereau and Ricks voted to hire as CFO Wendy Wulstein, who had been forced out of a similar position in Plainsboro Township but came recommended by Tomkins.
Bringing Wulstein into the municipal government has left Holley and Aubourg holding the bag for a potential $2,000 average tax hike looming over the homeowner and a possible state takeover of municipal finances.
The devastating tax increase could spell serious trouble for the three June primary election candidates backed by the county political machine: Holley, Aubourg and Randy Sandifer, a former Jersey City police detective who was accused of padding his paycheck with unearned overtime in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
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