NJ Fiscal Folly

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dual Office Holding In NJ

New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal policy group, has just issued an interesting paper, "One to a Customer: The Democratic Downsides of Dual Office Holding".

Quoting the report:

"According to the Center for Public Integrity, 33 percent of New Jersey legislators received income from a government agency other than the Legislature and at least 20 held more than one elected office. Dual office holding also is common at the county and local level.

There are many reasons for concern. Holding two elective offices in New Jersey:

• Insulates office holders from political accountability

• Frustrates the system of checks and balances among levels of government

• Is a form of political double-dipping

• Amplifies pork-barrel spending

• Blocks the political ladder to emerging aspirants

• Reinforces the state’s predilection for localism, parochialism and fragmentation

• Creates “low-show” jobs that divide the time and attention of elected officials

• Puts officials in a built-in conflict situation"

While I generally agree with the need to eliminate dual office holding, I might make an exception for those people who hold unpaid offices at the local level, such as $1 per year mayors.

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