HomeMoorestown NewsMayor asks council to rescind approval of pay-to-play ordinance

Mayor asks council to rescind approval of pay-to-play ordinance

Following the submission of a petition to repeal the recently passed pay-to-play ordinance, Mayor Stacey Jordan suggested the council rescind its approval of the ordinance in her opening remarks at the Sept. 9 township council meeting.

“I thought we were going to be ahead of the curve,” Jordan said later in the week.

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She explained that the intention of the ordinance was to make it easier for the township, following a bipartisan agreement between Gov. Christie and state Senate President Steve Sweeney, to mandate a uniform political contribution policy throughout the state.

Jordan explained that she would rather implement a policy than wait for state lawmakers to do so, which could take a great deal of time.

“When there are 500 municipalities with all different laws, then I think the only people who profit from that are the lawyers,” Jordan said.

In addition to asking the council to rescind the ordinance, Jordan also urged the council members to write to legislators to get the process going.

The ordinance was passed on Aug. 19 by a vote of 4–1 — Councilman Greg Newcomer being the sole vote against the proposed ordinance.

With the passing of the ordinance, the maximum contribution from professional business entities to council candidates was changed from $300 to $2,600. In addition, a maximum contribution to township party committee was raised from $300 to $7,200 and a maximum contribution from $500 to $7,200 for a political action committee.

Newcomer had also continued to voice his opposition as well, submitting a letter to the editor published in the Sept. 11 edition of The Moorestown Sun.

In the letter, Newcomer raised concerns about the increased contribution amounts from professional business entities that are allowed to contribute to both the town council and political parties, as well as the amounts allowed to contribute to a PAC.
“This enables a few people to influence the outcome of a local election, by their substantial contributions,” Newcomer stated in his letter.

During the Aug. 19 meeting, Newcomer proposed that the contribution amounts be lowered to $100 per year for all contributors.

According to a press release provided by Democratic Party member Mark Hines, a petition to repeal the ordinance containing more than 1,200 signatures was delivered to township clerk Patricia Hunt on Friday, Sept. 6 after more than 50 residents began gathering signatures by going door-to-door, asking neighbors and family, and setting up on Main Street.

The release also explained that almost 150 signatures were obtained on the first Saturday morning of the drive on the sidewalk in front of the Starbucks on Main Street.

Twelve days from the beginning of their efforts, starting on Aug. 21, the group had gathered more than 1,393 signatures.

“I have no problem taking it back to what it was,” Jordan said.

Jordan explained that she did not know about the petition until Friday, which along with several phone calls, prompted her to speak about ordinance in her opening remarks.

She said that following her remarks, three residents expressed their gratitude during public comment.

Jordan also added that she feels that the council is all in agreement when it comes to rescinding the ordinance.


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