UNION — Assemblyman Joe Cryan’s opponents in the Assembly race for District 20, Charles Donnelly and Christopher Hackett, are calling on him to resign as an undersheriff in Union County. Citing his co-sponsorship of a bill named the “Sheriff’s Professional Standards Act”, Donnelly and Hackett say that Cryan has not acted in accordance to the professional standards that he himself believes are required from a staff member of a sheriff in New Jersey.
The bill being cited by the challengers, number A-1716, is described on the NJ Legislature website as seeking to establish “professional standards for county sheriffs and their employees.” The bill was introduced -with Assemblyman Cryan as a co-sponsor – and is pending technical review by legislative counsel.
According to Donnelly and Hackett, there are two specific areas that implicate Cryan: first, a section which states that an employee of a sheriff should never act in a manner that would violate the people’s trust in that specific employee or the office of the Sheriff.
“I think it is fairly clear that the conduct of Joe Cryan since 2005 has not only violated the taxpayer’s trust as both an employee of our sheriff and as an Assemblyman, but also served as an embarrassment to our state and our legislature,” Donnelly said, referring to Cryan’s use of taxpayer funded and professional email accounts to send unprofessional messages to his then-girlfriend Karen Golding. “Any lesser public employee would have been fired as soon as those emails came to light by a supervisor. If this very bill that he sponsors were signed into law in 2005, he would have likely already had to step down.”
The second highlight, says Hackett, describes the qualifications necessary for becoming a Sheriff, which includes amendments proposed in the newest version of the bill to read that no person shall be eligible for the role of Sheriff unless that person has a minimum five years’ law enforcement experience.
“Joe Cryan has a lot of experience in politics, but as far as I can tell he doesn’t have much in regards to law enforcement,” says Hackett. “Yet if our Sheriff were to retire or resign, he would be in the line-up to replace him. By him co-sponsoring a bill like this, he tacitly acknowledges that if he himself were to replace our Sheriff, he would not be qualified. For the betterment of our County, Mr. Cryan needs to step down and allow someone more qualified to take his place.” Cryan was appointed as an Undersheriff in Union County in 2003, leaving his position owning and operating Cryan’s Restaurant in Metuchen.
“Not coincidentally”, Hackett added, “a section in the bill states that these requirements would not apply to a person appointed prior to the effective date of the bill. It must be nice to be able to exclude yourself from a law that you had a hand in writing.”
“The voters can decide Cryan’s political fate at the polls in November,” Donnelly finished, “but the people of our county cannot afford to have Cryan in the running to be our Sheriff.”
Donnelly and Hackett are the Republican candidates for NJ State Assembly in District 20, which includes Union Township, Roselle, Hillside, and Elizabeth. They will be opposing Democrats Cryan and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano in the Nov. 5 general election.
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