In their latest attempt to paint members of council as wrong, Editor in Chief Hillary Zaer Goldberg opines:
Did Deputy Mayor Mark Schwartz, Karen Orgen and Mike Pagan violate the Teaneck Pay-to-Play ordinance?
Ordinance 19-2017 was adopted June 13, 2017. It reads in relevant part:
To the extent that it is not inconsistent with state or federal law, the Township of Teaneck… shall not enter into any agreement or otherwise contract to procure services from any professional business entity or vendor in excess of $17,500 in the aggregate per year… to (i) a campaign committee of any municipal candidate or holder of public office in the Township of Teaneck having ultimate responsibility for the award of a contract… in excess of the thresholds specified in subsection (d) within the preceding one-year period from the date of the award of the contract or agreement.
According to Ms. Goldberg, the $900 donated to the Moving Teaneck Forward Team was more than $300, therefore they “appear to have engaged in pay-to-play”.
Ms. Goldberg either doesn’t understand the law or is willfully trying to convince people something nefarious was afoot.
Let’s go one step at a time: Pay to Play
What is the purpose of the Pay-to-Play ordinance?
The purpose of the ordinance is to prevent entities the Township does business with from donating amounts above a certain threshold, to remove the appearance of impropriety.
What is the threshold of what entities can donate?
The amount can be found in the ordinance quoted above: “in excess of the thresholds specified in subsection (d)”
Here is that subsection:
(d) Any individual meeting the definition of “professional business entity” or “vendor” under this section may contribute a maximum of $300 each per election for any purpose to (i) a campaign committee of any municipal candidate or holder of public office in the Township of Teaneck having ultimate responsibility for the award of a contract… without violating subsection (a) of this section… However, any group of individuals meeting the definition of “professional business entity” or “vendor” under this section, including such principals, partners, and officers of the entity or vendor in the aggregate, may not annually contribute for any purpose in excess of $2,500 per election to all Township of Teaneck candidates and officeholders with ultimate responsibility for the award of the contract… without violating subsection (a) of this section.
But isn’t $900 more than $300?
The Moving Teaneck Forward team ran as a slate, therefore donations were split between them. All online contributions contained this snippet:
Three candidates x $300 = $900 total.
We commend Ms. Goldberg for trying to get voices of Teaneck to be heard. Some of those voices should be capable of understanding ordinances and law.