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FORMRFI

CONFIDENTIAL
REQUEST FOR AN INVESTIGATION
STATE OF NEW JERSEY

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NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION

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P.O. Box 185, Trenton. NJ 08625-0185


(609) 292--8700 or Toll Free Wrthin NJ 1-888-313-ELEC (3532)
Website: www.elec.state.nj.us

FOR STATE USE ONLY

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission ("ELEC") investigative authority is limited to violations of the Campaign
Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act, NJ.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq . the Personal Financial Disclosure Act, NJ.S.A. 19:448-1 et seq.,
and the legislative and Governmental Processes Activities Disclosure Act, NJ.S.A. 52:13C-18 et seq. ELEC does not have jurisdiction
over the conduct of an election, the balloting process, or misapplying public funds for election purposes.

Person(sJ Bringing Request: (Please Print or Type}


Name:
Address:

Ryan Curioni

Daytime Phone:

(201 )

694-8473

76 Liberty Street

Evening Phone:

<201 )

694-8473

Lodi , NJ 07644

'

Daytime Phone: (

Address:

Evening Phone: (

Name:

Daytime Phone: (

Address:

Evening Phone: (

Name:

/
/

Individual/Entity_ that is the subject of this request for an investigation:


(Please list all persons/entities that are the subject of your request for an investigation.)
Successful (select one)

Candidate or Committee/Entity Name

Office Sought/Election type and year

Bruce Masopust, United for Lodi

Lodi Council/MuniciQal Election 2015

[g]Yes 0No

Patricia Licata, United for Lodi

Lodi Council/MuniciQal Election 2015

[g]Yes 0No

Laura Cima, United for Lodi

Lodi Council/Municipal Election 2015

[g]Yes 0No
0Yes 0No
0Yes 0No

Election District/Municipality

Lodi

County

Indicate which of the above entities files with ELEC "United

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Comm1ss1on

Bergen

for Lodi"

Page 1of3

Form RFI Revised Sep, 2007

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- - - --

Allegations:

(Please Print or Type}

State your detailed allegation(s) and provide the specific relevant facts which form the basis for this request for an investigation. Please
make reference to any relevant reports, and when possible, provide copies of reports. If you are alleging that a filing obligation was incurred
by virtue of exceeding an expenditure threshold, please provide specific information relevant to incurred costs (e.g. volume of literature
produced and circulated, cost of advertising, etc.). Also provide documentary evidence or a physical description of such evidence
(i.e.. "4x6 foot hand-painted sign") relevant to your allegations, including campaign literature, pictures, advertisements, signs, etc. Please
also state the names and addresses of other persons whom you believe have knowledge of the facts. If you are alleging that a lobbying
reporting obligation was incurred, please also provide as specific and detailed information as possible. Attach additional sheets if necessary.

Attached.

New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission

Page 2 of 3

Form RFI Revised Sep, 2007

- - ---,

Please list all enclosures:


1. Allegations: Violation of 90-day rule

2. "Lodi Update" newsletter


3. Record Article: Lodi council candidate challenges whether borough newsletter is campaign material

4. Record Article: Donovan to reimburse Bergen County for latest 'Bergen Blast' newsletter

5.

6.

7.
8.

9.

-\

10.

May 24, 2015


Date

Signature

Date

Signature

Date

Signature

Note: If you have transmitted your request for an investigation via facsimile copier, please send this request for an
investigation with your original signature(s) via regular mail, or other mail, or deliver in person to the Commission.
New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission

Page 3 of 3

Form RFI Revised Sep, 2007

Allegations:

Thirteen days prior to the May 12th municipal election, Borough tax
dollars were used to mail a newsletter called the "Lodi Update" to every
postal customer of Lodi. The intent of the letter was to list the supposed
achievements of incumbent council members who were up for reelection
in less than two weeks. Most of the stories in the newsletter were not
recent, some dating back eight years. A newsletter like this type hasn't
been mailed out since 2008. At that time, advertisers were used to offset
the costs of the mailings. When the Borough stopped mailing out the
"Lodi Ledger" at that time, they cited the high cost for the mailing and
the loss of advertisers.

The Record newspaper reported on the controversy of the mailing on


April 30th (May 1st paper edition). I had questioned the "United for
Lodi" campaign's violation of the 90 day rule, prohibiting public money
to be used to promote candidates within 90 days of an election. The
article contained the following, "Borough Manager Anthony Luna said
that since a bill for the publication has not yet been received, no money
has yet been spent on the newsletter by anyone. He also added that the
borough attorney is reviewing the situation."

At the May 19, 2015 regular council meeting, I questioned: how much
did the mailing cost the Lodi tax payers and when will the ""United for
Lodi" campaign be reimbursing the Borough? I also questioned why
Mr. Luna told the Record newspaper that nothing has been paid for yet
because somebody had to pay the US Postal Service at the time of the
mailing.

Borough Manager Anthony Luna said he directed a company to print


and mail the publication on behalf of the Borough. He couldn't name the
company but eventually said it is the company paid by Lodi to run its
website. He claimed the company paid the US Postal Service on behalf
of the Borough at the time of the mailing. He said he had no idea how
much the newsletter cost. After more questioning, he said the mailing
costs were probably around $2000 but he had no idea of the printing
costs. No bills have been made available to the public yet. I stated that
it is irresponsible to contract out a newsletter paid for with tax dollars
and not have any idea of the costs involved.

At the same meeting, Borough Attorney Alan Spiniello said the


newsletter is sent out regularly. Neither he nor anyone in the
administration were able to name the last time one was mailed out. Mr.
Spiniello said that in order to violate the 90 day rule, the mailing would
have to be sent out to a "sufficient number of voters". He said the
mailing was sent out to businesses also so he thought that made it
alright. I pointed out that the mailing was sent out to every registered
voter in Lodi, meeting the definition of sufficient. Mr. Spiniello said no
candidate's name was mentioned in the newsletter. I read Mr. Spiniello
the first sentence of the newsletter: "Mayor Bruce Masopust and the
Borough Council are proud to announce that they have adopted the
$17.3 million Budget for 2015 with a 0% tax increase, and have reduced
their outstanding debt by $2.2 million since 1999". (Side note: the
municipal budget that was adopted is $25,029,006.44. Mr. Luna always
mistakes the budget and tax levy. Also, Lodis net debt has increased
$10,611,272 or 90% just during the last two council terms.) Mr.
Spiniello finally said that this issue is between the "United for Lodi"
campaign and their campaign attorney. This administration said their
campaign attorney has not looked into this matter and will not look into

it unless a complaint is filed. Nobody would name the campaign


attorney.

Mr. Spiniello stated that Anthony Luna set up the mailing on behalf of
the Borough. Mr. Luna is not listed as the campaign manager for the
"United for Lodi" ticket but he runs every aspect of their campaign. Mr.
Luna had "United for Lodi" lawn signs on all of his properties in town.
Mr. Luna has sent out campaign letters in the past on behalf of United
for Lodi while he was Borough Manager. He had clear political
motives for his part in the newsletter.

Attached is a Record article titled, Donovan to reimburse Bergen


County for latest 'Bergen Blast' newsletter. The article contained the
following:
According to a memo posted on the state Election Law Enforcement
Commission, the 90-day rule applies when:
The recipients of the communication are substantially made up of
people who are eligible to vote in the election.
The communication refers to the governmental objectives and
achievements of the candidate.
The communication is distributed with the cooperation or consent of
the candidate.
"If these conditions are met the cost of producing and distributing the
newsletter would constitute an in-kind contribution," wrote Commission
Chairman Ronald DeFilippis.
Applying this to the Lodi Update:
Criteria #1: The mailing was sent to every registered voter of Lodi.

Criteria #2: Refer to the first sentence of the newsletter and the header
listing all of the incumbents up for reelection. The terms, Mayor and
Council and Borough Council are attached to the listed
achievements.
Criteria #3: Mayor Bruce Masopust acknowledged at the May 19, 2015
council meeting that he was aware of mailing and what Mr. Luna was
doing. An attached Record article states: Mayor Bruce Masopust, a
longtime council veteran, said Thursday he was not familiar with the 90day rule but that every administration hes served under has sent out a
newsletter like the Lodi Update near the end of council terms, with the
borough paying for the publications. Mayor Masopust clearly
conspired with Mr. Luna on the Lodi Update. Mr. Masopust has been
on the Lodi council on and off for 30 years. He is also very active with
partisan politics at the County level. Why wouldnt he be aware of the
90 day rule?
Currently, the Lodi Update has not been reported by United for Lodi
as an in-kind contribution.
The mailing should be paid for with campaign funds and not public
money. The 90 day rule was clearly violated.

Mayor & Council Adopt Zero Municipal


Tax Increase for 2015 Budget
"We have hired a number of new police officers
and have increased police
presence without having to
raise taxes," said Municipal
M anager Anthony Luna.
Over the past three years,

Mayor Bruce M asopust


and the Borough Council
are proud to announce that
they have adopted the $17. 3
million Municipal Budget
for 20 15 with a 0% tax increase, and have reduced
their outstanding debt by
$2.2 million since 1999.
According to Borough
Auditor Frank DiMaria, this
was made possible through
many changes in regards to
the Borough's fisc af spending and continued revenue
stability.
"Essentially, recurring
revenues stayed the same,"
said DiMaria. "We are very
stable, and ratables have
increased from redevelopment, which provides additional tax revenue. Most
towns are happy just to
maintain their base; Lodi
hasn't just maintained it,
they have expanded it. "
Among the changes in
the Borough's fiscal spend~
ing, was the satisfactory .
agreement reached with all
the unions' labor contracts
that have been settled with
a 2% or less increase. In addition, healthcare coverage

for all current Borough employees' has been switched


to the State's healthcare
benefits, which provide better rates, and the number of
fulltime borough employees has been reduced with
ex1stmg personnel reassigned to cover remaining
cluties.
The Department of Public Works is a prime example as they have had a
reduction in force and have
implemented the us e of outside contractors for landscaping, tree trimming and
cutting, and snow plowing,
while existing employees
are reassigned to building
and grounds.
The Borough 's Shared
Services A greements with
the Board of Education
and the Police D epartment
have also aided in reduced
spending as costs are shared
among all entities. Through
these shared services Lodi
has recently installed new
state-of-art field turf for the
High School Stadium and
increased police presence
again at no additional cost
to the taxpayers .

the police department has


reduced five full-time positions, and reassigned the
duties fulfilled by those positions with existing personnel. There are currently 43
officers on the force.

Lodi Wins Suit Against


Passaic Valley Over Rate
Increase
After about nse ears in
litigation, the Borough of
Lodi has won its suit against
alley Water
the Passaic
Commission (P
C) over
unfair rate increases . The
court 's decision was finalized in early 2014, and residents were reimbursed an
average of S400 per household.
The bill increase was a
result of excess charges
being incurred by Passaic
Valley, passed ~n to the
consumers. Back into 2009,
the Borough of Lodi filed
suit against the PVWC in
the Superior Court of New
Jersey alleging that the

PVWC breached and was


in violation of the Lease
Agreement regarding the
Borough of Lodi municipal
water system by charging
water rate increases in excess of the rates permitted
in the Lease.
The trial, which lasted
four days, found Lodi's interpretation of the lease to be
the correct one. Passaic Valley subsequently appealed
and the supreme court's decision was upheld.

"Ultimately the judge


agreed with Lodi's interpretation of the law,'' said
Borough Auditor Frank DiMaria.

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+A Newsletter E

Redevelopment Pays Big


In addition to investing local
tax dollars , the Mayor and Coun cil have full y utili ze d New Jersey State and Federal (CDBG)

Project Name
2011 CDBG Program

2012 CDBG Program Phase I


2012 CDBG Program Phase II

Church Street Phases I - IV


Staal Lane Improvements
2013 CDBGProgram

Redevelopment continues to thrive


in the Borough of Lodi. With projects
including the Lodi Plaza, Shop Rite,
and Quick Check already completed,
focus has now turned to the next phase
of projects scheduled to break ground
during the summer of 2015.
Among them is redevelopment on
Main Street, which includes the old
Napp Chemical Site.
"These proj ects are scheduled to be
breaking ground in August I Septem-

ber of this year,.. aid Municipal anager Anthony Luna.


Successful redevelopment plays a
key role in increasing Lodi's tax base,
and has contributed greatly to keeping
the municipal tax rate to a $0 increase
for 2015. Unlike failed attempts at
redevelopment in the 90's, below are
REAL, COMPLETED, and planned
redevelopment projects; their contributions to the tax base, and the taxes
they yield:

Redevelopment Pays Big Dividends!!!


-

I
I

--

--

Shop Rite
Lodi Plaza
Quick Check
Wawa
Essex Street

--- -

___ rerate<iT_____ --- -

Assessment
Taxes Gen
- ---$11,345, 700
$362,268
$4, 251 ,900
$135,763
$1, 103,900
$35,248
$640,800
$20,461
$1,900,300
$60,677

CVS
LA Fitness

$10,000,000

$319,300

Status
COMPLETED
COMPLETED
COMPLETED
COMPLETED
COMPLETED
COM ING
SUMMER
2015

Mayor and Council Paving the Way to Better Infrastructure

2014 CDBG Program


(Sum mer 2015 Construc!ion)
Central Ave. Phase I (NJDOT)
(Summer 2015 Construction)

Bo
I

ividends Napp Chemical Site


grants available to repair, re construct an d re-pave hundr eds
of miles of roads within th e Borough:

Finally Developed

g Place (Hamilton Ave. - Saddle River Bridge)


cGuire Place (Hamilton Ave. - Kimmig Ave.)
Hamilton Avenue (Route 46 - Howard St.)
River Street
Bernice Place
Lorelei Terrace
Arlene Grove
Annette Terrace
Mary Street
Church Street (Main St. - Clark St.)
Staal Lane
Pearl Street

s
t. Joseph's Blvd. (Davis Dr. - Christie Street)
Central Ave. (South Main St. - Grove St.)

The explosion on Friday, April 21,


1995 at the Napp Chemi al plant on Main
Street left that property unsightly for
many years to follow. For decades cars
and pedestrians had to el)dure the sight
of what many refen-ed to as a "'bombed
out Beirut", and recently, ugly construction fencing all along the Borough 's most
traveled road.
The Mayor and Council finally had
enough with the bureaucrati red-tape,
and succeeded in bringing all parties to
the table to address this issue. Land owners, developers representatiYes from J
DEP were all brought in, and the outcome
is a tremendou win for the residents.
The :\app site. along with the adjoining

abandoned Fine Organics property, will


be the location of a brand new state of
the art LA Fitness Center and CVS . The
plans will not only satisfy much desired
need for these establishments, but bring
in tremendous rateables, which will offset local property tax increases. according to Municipal Manager Anthony Luna.
"We have worked hard for our residents to improve the aesthetics of the
main thoroughfare through town. It's terrible that people had to drive down Main
Street for as long as they did and look at
such a deplorable site," said Mayor Bruce
Masopust.
Construction is scheduled for Summer
20 15 .

Parents, Officials Thrilled with


New School Security Program
September 2013 marked the
implementation of Borough's
new School Security Program,
\\hich places an armed security
guard in each of the Borough 's
elementary schools and Middle
S hool. A collaborative effort
bet\ ee1i the Municipal Council, Board of Education, and the
Borough Police Department,
the School Securi
Program
is staffed b retired local and
state police offi rs seIYing as
school security guard . This allows the program to run without
reducing the number of officers
urrently patrolling our neighborhoods. The Borough and the
Board of Education share the
cost of the program jointly, under the authority of ew Jersey
State shared-service statutes .
According to Municipal
Manager Anthony Luna, parents
are thrill d with the new school

2015 Borough of Lodi Recycling Schedule

..,.,

Recycling Schedule

Wednesda y

Wednesday

"'"'

Magazines

&Tin
Bottles&Jars

All P1astic8ott1 es

Cardboard
Newspapers

May

6th & 20th

13th & 27th

June

3rd & 17th

10th & 24th

July

1st&15th

8th & 22nd

August

5th & 19th

12th & 26th

September

2nd & 16th

9th &23rd

October

7th&21st

14th & 28th

November

4th & 18th

11th & 25th

December

2nd, 16th & 30th

9th &2_3rd

(No Motor Oil Sottfes)

There will be NO Recycling Pick-Up on:


July 29th and September 30th
There will be NO Regular Garbage Pick Up on :
May 25th, Septe mber 7th,
Novembe r 26th & December 25th

security program, which was


the first in Bergen County. The
mere presence of the officers
has provided an increased sense
of safety to the school buildings and grounds, and many of
Lodi 's neighboring towns have
subsequently followed its lead
by activating their school security programs.
The officers currently serving, which include a retired police chief, are all recently retired
from active law enforcement,
and are trained in active school
shooter responses, bomb threats
and threat assessments.
The Borough Council is extremely proud of this program;
considering it one of the Borough's most significant accomplishments thus far, because it
provides protection for the Borough's most valuable assets; the
children.

Re(~~;)~~:~~~ns?

Magazines, Cardboard & Newspaper: Includes glossy junk mail and brown paper bags. CARDBOARD MUST BE
FLAT AND TIED.
Glass & Plastic: All glass and plastic bottles should be recycled. Place in rigid containers, NOT IN PLASTIC BAGS.
Plastic Items such as flower pots and garbage pails are not recyclable. Please call the DPW at (973) 365-4068 for
directions on how to dispose of t~ese items.
Grass, Leaves & Yard Waste: Will be picked up from the first week in April until the last week in December ON YOUR
RECYCLING DAY ONLY. Grass-can be mixed with yard waste and tree trimmings and placed in rigid containers, NOT
IN PLASTIC BAGS. Tree branches not exceeding three feet in length and four inches in diameter must be bundled
and tied.
Household Batteries: Rechargeable and button cell batteries may be dropped off at the DPW Recycling Center on
Saturdays ONLY between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12 noon. Alkaline batteries may be put in the regular garbage.
The following items are NOT recyclable and cannot be placed at the curb without first contacting the DPW at
(973) 365-4068:
.

ALL GARBAGE MUST BE PLACED IN GARBAGE


CANS OR HEAVY DUTY PLASTIC BAGS ONLY.

Metal or White Goods: This includes refrigerators, (doors removed), washing machines, dryers, stoves, dishwashers,
air conditioners, and hot water heaters. BEFORE A HOT WATER HEATER CAN BE PICKED UP, YOU MUST FIRST
OBTAIN A PLUMBING PERMIT FROM THE LODI INSPECTION DEPARTMENT (973) 859-7410.
Tires : Will only be accepted at the DPW Recycling Center on Saturday, October 3rd between 8am and 12pm. Tires
CANNOT be picked up with the regular garbage.
Electronics, Computers, and Televisions, etc.: May only be recycled at the DPW Recycling Center. You CANNOT
leave these items curbside.
LEAF BAGS will be distributed from October 5th to December 12th, fr~~ of charge at Borough Hall, Room 103,
between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday and at the DPW Recycling Center on Saturdays, between
8:00 am and 12:00 pm (Limit 10 per family)
CHRISTMAS TREES will ONLY be picked up on your recycling day during the MONTH OF JANUARY.

P[EASE NOTE:

SUMMONSES WILL BE ISSUED TO VEHICLES PARKED OVERNIGHT WITHOUT A BOROUGH ISSUED


PARKING STICKER & TO ANYONE THROWING SNOW IN THE STREET DURING SNOW REMOVAL.

ALL RECYCLI NG AND GARBAGE MUST BE


PLACED CURB-SIDE AFTER 6PM, ON THE
NIGHT BEFORE SCHEDULED PICK UP,
REGARDLESS OF THE WEATHER.

Lodi council candidate challenges whether


borough newsletter is campaign material
April 30, 2015, 5:47 PM

Last updated: Thursday, April 30, 2015, 7:37 PM

BY JOHN SEASLY
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

Print

Screenshot of newsletter in question.


LODI A council candidate is challenging a borough newsletter that praises the
accomplishments of the mayor and council all up for reelection May 12 as a potential
violation of state election law.
Council candidate Ryan Curioni argues that Lodi Update, which is subtitled A Newsletter From
the Borough of Lodi and bears the borough seal, appears to fall under the state Election Law
Enforcement Commissions 90-day rule. The rule says that if a communication within that time
span before an election is government-funded, it must be disclosed as an in-kind contribution to
the candidates mentioned.

Borough Manager Anthony Luna said that since a bill for the publication has not yet been
received, no money has yet been spent on the newsletter by anyone. He also added that the
borough attorney is reviewing the situation.
As of Thursday, it was unclear who will pay for the publication.
Curioni, one of two challengers in the election, sent Luna an email Wednesday, stating he was
considering filing a complaint with NJELEC. Curioni also said that he assumed that taxpayer
dollars had financed the newsletter.
Luna said the newsletter is normally distributed every four years by the mayor and council near
the end of their terms. The recent Lodi Update contains articles about the 2015 budget,
redevelopment efforts, a school security program and a lawsuit against the Passaic Valley Water
Commission.
Mayor Bruce Masopust, a longtime council veteran, said Thursday he was not familiar with the
90-day rule but that every administration hes served under has sent out a newsletter like the
Lodi Update near the end of council terms, with the borough paying for the publications.
Curioni said Thursday that It was a desperate attempt before the election, and they should pay
for it themselves.
The 90-day rule takes effect when a communication is made within 90 days of the election, is
distributed primarily to those eligible to vote in the election, refers to the governmental
objectives or achievements of the candidates and is done with the consent or cooperation of the
candidates.
The NJELEC can investigate whether public funds are used for such communications, but is not
authorized to rule on the legality of the situation, spokesman Joe Donohue said.
If theres public funds used, thats not up to us. Thats up to a local prosecutor to decide what
has to be done about that, Donohue said.
If a candidate fails to report such a publication as an in-kind contribution, the commission can
impose a fine of up to $7,600 per violation. However that rarely occurs, Donohue said. More
likely what happens is that the candidates cooperate and attempt to remedy the situation
themselves.

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan faced a similar situation running for reelection last
year, when a quarterly newsletter featuring her came under scrutiny.
Her administration pulled the remaining 7,500 copies of the Bergen Blast newsletter, removed
it from the Internet and reimbursed the county $878 for expenses.
Email: seasly@northjersey.com

Donovan to reimburse Bergen County for


latest 'Bergen Blast' newsletter
September 26, 2014, 5:46 PM
BY JOHN C. ENSSLIN
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

Print

Last updated: Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:47 PM

Carmine Galasso / Staff Photographer/file photo


Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan.
Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, who is running for reelection, has agreed to
personally reimburse the county $878 for the latest edition of a quarterly newsletter that features
her in several stories.
The county's attorneys determined that the newsletter may violate a state rule prohibiting such
publications within 90-days of an election.
The newsletter, called Bergen Blast contains reports about Donovans participation in
activities, including "Bark in the Park" at Overpeck County Park. It was distributed earlier this
week from a table at the county's annual senior picnic in Paramus.

Jeanne Baratta, the chief of staff for Donovan, a Republican, said Friday the administration
decided to pull the remaining 7,500 copies and remove the publication from the website after
consulting with the County Counsel's office.
That action did not go far enough, according to officials of the Democratic Committee of Bergen
County.
Committee Executive Director Derek Sands said that Donovan should also reimburse the county
for the staff time devoted to producing the newsletter as well as for an earlier edition of the
Bergen Blast that was distributed at the Rutherford Street Fair on Sept. 1, Labor Day.
Sand said distribution of that edition fell within the 90-day window during which elected
officials are not allowed to distribute materials printed at public expense. The election is on Nov.
4.
Donovan, who is running for a second term, is opposed by Freeholder James Tedesco, a
Democrat.
According to a memo posted on the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, the 90-day
rule applies when:
The recipients of the communication are substantially made up of people who are eligible to
vote in the election.
The communication refers to the governmental objectives and achievements of the candidate.
The communication is distributed with the cooperation or consent of the candidate.
"If these conditions are met the cost of producing and distributing the newsletter would
constitute an in-kind contribution," wrote Commission Chairman Ronald DeFilippis.
Baratta said the intent behind the newsletter was governmental, not political. She said it has been
distributed quarterly for the last three years to town halls, libraries and senior centers, and at
county events.
"We're going on the side of caution and pulling it back," Baratta said.

"We don't see it as a campaign piece, which is why the Donovan campaign is not paying for it
and why the County Executive is paying out of her own pocket," she added.
As for the Democrats' call for reimbursing the staff time devoted to the newsletter, Baratta said
the content of the newsletter is taken from press releases that staff would be producing anyway.
As for the copies distributed on Labor Day in Rutherford, Baratta said that edition was printed in
the spring, well before the 90-day period.
Sands said Baratta's explanations do not excuse what was done.
"I can't believe the county newsletter is being used as political propaganda," he said.
"There's a lot that goes into this," he added. "It's not just compiling information on events that
she's done."
Sands said the 90-day rule applies to when the newsletters were distributed, not just when they
were printed.
Email: ensslin@northjersey.com