By: Jeff Epstein
Editor, Citizens’ Media TV
WESTAMPTON, NJ — The Westampton Township Council has voted 3-2 to request the Burlington County Prosecutor open an inquiry into the potential conflicts of interest of former Solicitor George Saponaro. The request relates to Saponaro’s relationship with former “Fire Chief/Head of EMS” Jason Carty. Saponaro negotiated and approved Carty’s employment contract in 2015, at the same time that his office served (and still serves) as the incorporated address for Carty’s sole proprietorship, Local Strategies LLC, a campaign consulting firm.
This investigation request is conditional on it not intruding with the current retaliation lawsuit filed by Jason Carty against Council members Lopez, Daniels, and Smith-Hartman. The motion tonight was made by Lopez, seconded by Smith-Hartmann, and supported by Daniels. Wisniewski abstained and Winsett-Teleisa voted no.
The issue was initially brought up by a citizen, Johnathan Wright, which prompted Lopez to make the motion. Winsett-Teleisa expressed frustration that the committee was “once again” witnessing a public comment resulting in an impulsive motion being passed by the committee. She said she was disappointed in the inability to discuss or prepare.
Carty was laid off in April of 2016 from his Fire Chief position, only months into his five year contract (he was interim Fire Chief for about a year before that). The three yes votes to eliminate his position (via Reduction In Force) were also made by Lopez, Daniels, and Smith-Hartman. At around that same time, these same three committee members voted to replace Solicitor Saponaro with current Solicitor Marmero. Saponaro currently serves as Solicitor for Mt Holly.
Further background on this story.