Bennett: McEnery-Graziano Letter Raises Legitimate Issue. Says Golden Went Negative

Golden: “I’m not going into the weeds with with John… Let’s talk about the future of our Party”

Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett said that the letter released to MMM by the municipal party chairmen of Manalapan and Freehold Township raising ethical concerns about Shaun Golden serving as both County Sheriff and the GOP County Chairman was not a negative attack on Golden.  Rather, Bennett said, “They raised an legitimate issue that could very well impact that Party and the Freeholders. We may be giving the Democrats an issue that we don’t need to give them.”

John Bennett Memorial Day 2014

John Bennett at the Little Silver Memorial Day Celebration

Bennett said that Golden’s response to the letter, wherein the Sheriff raised Bennett’s municipal employment as a borough administrator and multiple municipal legal jobs, was a negative attack.  “Shaun never raised these jobs as an issue before,” Bennett said, “now he’s attacking me for them.”

The Chairman said that the Court case Golden cited in response to the ethics question is shoddy legal work and supports the position that one person should not hold both the Sheriff’s office and Chairmanship.

“I don’t know who his attorneys are,” Bennett said, “but I hope the are not getting paid much by anybody.  That case was 12 years before the Local Government Ethics Law was passed and it concerns a municipal chairmanship, not a county chairmanship.  A municipal chairman does not have political power over freeholders who have to approve a sheriff’s budget.  If anything, that case supports my position, that it is inappropriate for one person to be both Sheriff and Chairman.”

Bennett said that there is no case law regarding the issue and that the Local Finance Board has not issued any advisory opinions on the matter.

Advised of Bennett’s remarks, Golden said, “Comparing me to convicted felons in not a negative attack?”

“I’m not getting into the weeds with John about this.  There are multiple precedents and many elected officials now servings honorably as Chairmen. It’s a non-issue. My letter to McEnery and Graziano speaks for itself. What is an issue is the future of our Party.

“We need to expand and grow our Party.

Shaun Golden

Shaun Golden

“We need to fill our County Committee seats.  It is unacceptable that we have over 200 vacancies, almost a record high.  We need to contact every new resident of Monmouth County and let them know that the Republicans made this county the great place to live that it is.

 

“We need a thriving Affiliated Club and strong Republican Clubs and Committees. We need to develop our bench of outstanding officials ready to serve at every level of government. It’s unacceptable that there are towns with no Republican candidates on the ballot.

 

“Governor Christie won 54% of the Hispanic vote, yet as a party, we have not reached out to Hispanic leaders or other demographics.  We will do that when I am Chairman.

 

“Communication must be constant, not just before a convention.  We will keep our website current and use social media prolifically to communicate with our base and our constituents, the people we serve.

 

“Finally, we will go back to basics with frequent gatherings; monthly regional breakfasts, quarterly dinners, and training sessions.  It’s not just about how much money we have raised. It is about how we use our money wisely and responsibly to grow our base and expand our outreach. We must invest in the local municipalities.  By building relationships and sharing ideas, solving governmental and political problems together, we will preserve and improve upon the great quality of life we have built here in Monmouth County.

 

“That’s what is stake in this Chairman’s election.”

In their letter released last Thursday Manalapan GOP Chairman Steve McEnery and Freehold Republican Chairman Anthony Graziano said the Local Government Ethics Law appears to prohibit one person holding both the office of Sheriff and Chairman at the same time.  McEnery and Graziano challenged Golden to release an advisory opinion from the Local Fiance Board, the entity within the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs with jurisdiction over local government ethics, or to explain to the Republican County Committee members why he failed to do basic due diligence by obtaining just an advisory opinion.

McEnery and Graziano pointed out that in two instances in the past when a County Sheriff also served as County Chair, that the office holders were indicted and that one is currently in jail. “The danger of wearing two hats is clear.”

Golden responded to McEnery and Graziano’s letter on Thursday with a quote to MMM:

“It is disappointing that John Bennett and his supporters want to make this race negative and personal, and of all things about ethics. It is hurtful that my friend Steve McEnery would lump me in with convicted felons and Democrats who were gaming the system for personal gain.

“This is a frivolous statement and matter has been settled by numerous precedents, including John Bennett’s multiple roles as a full time Borough Administrator, full time Superintendent of Public Works and Chairman, as well as his numerous municipal and board of education legal jobs throughout Monmouth County, including legal work by his firm for the county which he pledged they would not do.

“Elected officials of all types have served honorably as chair, as will I when I am elected.

“If John Bennett wants to debate ethics, I welcome the challenge.  I’d rather talk to County Committee Members throughout Monmouth about the future of our Party. I will continue to focus on a positive vision for our future.”

Later Thursday, Golden released his written response to McEnery and Graziano, wherein he rebuked the chairmen for a personal attack on his integrity, “in gross violation of Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment,”  and cited case law, Lanza v DeMarinowhich he said settled the matter.

MMM asked the Local Finance Board, “Is it appropriate for an elected official, in general, and a sheriff specifically, to serve and the County Chairman of a major political party.” DCA spokesperson Tammori C. Petty declined to comment “on a hypothetical situation that could be presented to the Local Fiance Board.”

 

Posted: May 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: John Bennett, Monmouth GOP, Shaun Golden | Tags: , , , | 22 Comments »

22 Comments on “Bennett: McEnery-Graziano Letter Raises Legitimate Issue. Says Golden Went Negative”

  1. Typical Of Bennett said at 9:22 am on May 27th, 2014:

    This is how Bennett won the chair last year. He plays dirty pool, then accused (via Lillian Burry) Christine of playing dirty pool.

    John Bennett is the epitome of a pig at the trough swilling down tax $ via various jobs.

    Bennett has failed at the basic job of building the party via County Committee, ect. It has also been embarrassing to see the low turn out at Affiliated Club events.

    Golden’s got a better vision of where we need to go.

  2. This is not nursery school Shaun said at 10:31 am on May 27th, 2014:

    When faced with a legal question you can’t simply respond : “stop being mean to me”. There has not been one attack on you. If you won’t handle this issue, hopefully one of our real leaders will address it. Where is Curley on this? This will effect him as well as all the other sitting Freeholders. Did Shaun ever think once I can add to the party organization and work with Bennett to make it stronger? This is all about ego, and a willingness to sacrifice the Party’s best interest to satisfy that big ego.

  3. Bennett, Golden Spar Over Ethics | The Save Jersey Blog said at 10:45 am on May 27th, 2014:

    […] By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com […]

  4. Mark said at 10:50 am on May 27th, 2014:

    I have a feeling that Sean Golden and some other key party officials are going to end up getting their faces beaten in with tire irons :) No one in Monmouth is safe

  5. Shire Reeve said at 11:17 am on May 27th, 2014:

    A real leader would have addressed the issue head on and gone to the local finance board for an advisory opinion. Kudos to Art for trying. If the Sheriff won’t do it, someone else needs to. This is really starting to smell like a badly planned back room deal. Sheriff wins Chair, Sheriff out as Chair, vice chair in, Sheriff tries to go back to political career with help from former vice chair. Even if that’s not the case, critical issues are going to arise during the Chair’s tenure. The party needs someone who will tackle them, not ignore them and hope they go away. Otherwise, it’s going to be ostrich eggs for breakfast at the monthly meetings if the Sheriff wins.

  6. I am Questioning Golden´s Integrity! said at 11:38 am on May 27th, 2014:

    I read with interest Shaun Golden´s letter here in MMM. He seems exasperated that certain elements here in the County Republican Party is questioning his ¨integrity´

    I just have a question that has been raised but never answered. What kind of integrity does one have to allow a friend to receive a pension and a salary to get around pension laws? Yes I read the Watchdog article posted here. Nwever questioned it though..until now. Why was Mr. Donovan suddenly shifted over to another position? Does he get to repay all the money back? Has Shaun ever publically talked about this fiasco?

    If he is truly a law enforcement type guy, this self proclaimed possessor of integrity, would speak up and not avoid the issue for peerpetuity

  7. Poor Bennett said at 11:40 am on May 27th, 2014:

    he’s got no agenda, no game plan and nothing to talk about. Why isn’t Bennett having breakfasts with County Committee people? This is how you build a Party, via grass roots work.

    Because he has no record to run on so he can’t have such breakfasts. He seems to think he is “above” all of that.

    Hence, he uses surrogates to play nasty games.

    To the person attacking Shaun Golden for the problems in Howell….

    Why aren’t you attacking Bennett for letting Costigan stay on as Municipal Chair in Howell after Costigan reneged on a deal for him to step down as Municipal Chair when he became a State Committeeman.

    Rumors have it that Bennett made that deal giving Costigan State Committeeman if he stepped down as Chair.

    Talk about egg on his face. Bennett is a weak chairman.

  8. @ The person questioning integrity said at 11:43 am on May 27th, 2014:

    Was there anything illegal done?

    NO, there wasn’t. So, get off Sage’s lame horse. it’s broke down dead. How about we question YOUR integrity for pushing an issue that is a non issue?

  9. Tim H said at 3:03 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    The fact is Golden Boy’s own town is a bloody mess and he did NOTHING to try and fix it. That is not the mark of a chairman or leaders. And have Golden Boy go on record that he will not challenge Congressman Smith. Just ask; guarantee he will not rule it out. The overwhelming facts suggest this is not his time to be chairman. See above but for those that need it again:

    TOP 10 REASONS GOLDEN SHOULD NOT BE CHAIRMAN:

    1) No real experience running political organization at all. He showed up 5 years ago without any experience.

    2) His own town a mess and he did nothing to help fix it. He sat it out and did not want to be involved. He did not have the “balls” to lead.

    3) He is terribly conflicted as county wide elected official that wants to be party-boss. Can you say ethics charges to follow in the future, blowing up in our face?

    4) He was the chief engineer that led failed coupe to dump a popular sitting Freeholder, Gary Rich, with an unqualified, over the top 3x loser, Bobby Walsh. The failed coupe once again caused division and disharmony in the ranks that he fostered and led; after lying to Gary’s face.

    5) He has messes in his own department by hiring triple dippers on the tax-payer dime.

    6) He has not political loyalty to anyone or anything. Only to himself and will stab anyone in the back —- or in the chest — to further his own selfish causes.

    7) He wants to turn over the County political machine over to a handful of the big towns and return to the old days where you had to be from a big town to be anybody.

    8) He wants to dole out more county jobs to people when he is conflicted.

    9) He plans to use the sheriff’s office and county chairman’s job to be a “de-facto” County Executive; a role not allowed under this county form of government.

    10) He will/plans to use chair to build chips and topple sitting outstanding Congressman Chris Smith in 2 years. As chairman he can give himself the line and dump Smith, a supremely competent Congressman.

    Should we go on? This is just bad for the County and the Party and it needs to stop. I barely know Bennett but I know he has won elections, raised money and restored sanity. Just because Golden Boys says its “his time” does not entitle him to anything.

    The facts don’t lie. He should end his candidacy and work with Bennett and learn the ropes and perhaps succeed Bennett wen he steps aside.

  10. Wow said at 3:14 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    If that’s true about Costigan , Bennett must feel like a doormat. I am just wondering if we will all get to walk over him on June 10th!

    I am a Golden vote!

  11. Tim H the Parrot Said said at 3:15 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Same old thing like a broken record.

    I would like you to prove all of these “plans.”

    That said, someone above said something about Bennett swilling at the trough of public $. When are you going to attack that?

    Someone also talked about about how weak Bennett is as a chair. He couldn’t even enforce the deal he made with Costigan.

    The truth is Tim, you can’t answer those questions, nor does Bennett care enough to hold meetings across the county with County Committee people to explain why he should be re-elected.

    But, this is typical Bennett. He has nothing, so he turns his attack puppies loose.

    How much is Bennett paying you Tim?

    @ Shire Reves…

    You’re another tinfoil hat conspiracy nut.

    Where do you come up with this stuff about Golden in as Chair and then out as chair?

    Are you smoking something dude?

    And finally for the Chris Smith conspiracy theory, the last time I talked with the Sheriff, he certainly didn’t seem to hot about running for Congress.

    I hope Shaun wins big to refute all of you haters. And big is between 30 & 50 votes considering how depleted the County Committee ranks are due to Bennett’s hands off attitude while he rakes in public tax $.

    Tim, care to address Bennett’s failure to rebuild the County Committee ranks, to see that the Affiliated Club events are well attended, the sham of a website that takes forever to update?

    Thought not.

    His family is young. I could be wrong, but I doubt he wants to leave them and do the Washington shuffle right now.

  12. Tim H said at 3:31 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    Easy to address your points:

    1) Golden Boy seriously considered running against Pallone. That is common knowledge. He called county leaders and leaders across the District. He was close to doing it. He decided in the end he could not raise the money needed to win and the district was too rigged. If he felt he could have won, he would have run. However, he has a different view on Smith. With Smith, its is easier. It is his District, he has 2 years to raise money and he’ll give himself the line. So much for the “young family” bull-crap. What a load. Like when the person retires to “spend more time with their family” non-sense.

    2) Bennett is not an elected person that can bully Freeholders around who have to decide his budget. He is also not a “pig”. Why resort to name calling? A pig? Really? He has been voted in by people for these positions and has made most long before he was chair. Oceanport WANTED him for the job and he is not their lawyer. No conflicts there. Again, you have to be a baby and call the man a pig?

    3) The party has raised money, won elections and gotten new people involved. No recent squabbling in the usual areas —- except Howell —- where Golden Boy did not have the “balls” to step in. Golden Boy could have made a difference instead he opted to run and hide.

    4) Affiliated meetings are always well attended as is the Gala, Lincoln Day. Maybe YOU have not seen it.

    Joe Oxley knew the dangers of being chair and Sheriff and did not do both. Smart man. The two other Sheriff’s in the state that did both went to JAIL in the end.

    Word is that even the LT, Kim Guardano, is NOT keen on this and is NOT supporting Golden Boy. Ouch — that one must have hurt.

    Bennett is paying me nothing. I like many simply don’t want the party to go down the crapper like it will if Golden Boy wins.

    And cute how you ignore all my other comments. Face it — the shine is off the Golden One now that people see the truth!

  13. Shire Reeve said at 3:56 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    @timhtheparrot – love your binary view of the world – “you don’t like my candidate so you must be crazy.” The Sheriff has major problems with his ability to serve two roles. He refuses to acknowledge that. And it’s not even a matter of drawing fine distinctions about a dense law. It’s really a no-brainer. He and his supporters refuse to acknowledge or do anything about it, which is unfortunate. At a minimum, he should announce his vice chair now so people can make an informed choice about who will actually be chair when he gets bounced. Why is the Sheriff sidetracking what everyone says is a promising political career for the county chair position?

    @tim h – word is that none of the elected officials in the area are happy with him for pulling this stunt and not having an advisory opinion to support his candidacy. It’s embarrassing to see somebody so unprepared when it would have been easy to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. Unbelievable.

    Bennett’s not perfect either, but the guy has experience, has raised money and supported winning candidates like the Sheriff.

  14. ROFLAO TIMMY said at 4:03 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    1) Last two Affiliated events other than Lincoln Day were POORLY attended. Tables not filled. They USED to be well attended. Membership there is down seriously. Many people I have spoken with are DISGUSTED with Bennett’s lack of leadership.

    2) Why the pig reference? Bennett has got a lot of jobs there and is funneling legal money to his family. Typical of the good old boys network.

    But, I’ll make you a deal, stop with the insulting “Golden Boy” meme and I’ll can the pig reference. Again, you have to be continually hating with that Golden Boy line? People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    3) I have answered your comments elsewhere. If you don’t like the answers, that is your problem.

    4) When I hear it from the Lt., they I will believe you. Maybe it’s just that she’s “staying out of it?”

    5) You want to bet on it going down the crapper if Golden wins?

    6) Where has Bennett been on trying to rescue towns like Asbury Park, Neptune and Marlboro?

    7) Where was Bennett stepping in to help solve the problems in Howell, (as in the party going down hill) . He’s COUNTY CHAIR for God’s Sake. As Howell goes, so could the county.

    8) I haven’t heard a word about Chris Smith wanting to retire. Doubt Shaun would challenge a sitting Congressman.

    He is NOT a hands on Chair.

    9) As to “Bennett” paying you, you certainly seem to be the ONLY one carrying his water so vigorously.

    It’s Bennett style tactics 101, accuse others of the kind of dirty politics that he himself does.

    Good bye Tim. Asked and answered. I have more important things to say.

    BTW Tim, are you County Committee?

  15. @ROFLAO Timmy said at 4:29 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    You think this challenge is for the good of the party bc the last two affiliated events were attended poorly? Bennett raised contributions by 52% and he won elections! If Shaun had some big ideas on how to raise attendance at the affiliated club meetings why didn’t he just approach Bennett? It’s because this is about ego, not what’s in the Party’s best interest. Would love the video of all the events Shaun went to last year where he openly praised and thanked Bennett. And he openly challenges him for his seat 4 weeks before the election. Yeah he’s one I would trust!

  16. @ @ ROFLAO TIMMY said at 4:53 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    You think this is ONLY about the Affiliated?

    Affiliated is only part of the equation, but it is a sign of a waning grass roots effort.

    Most of the people at the Affiliated events are 0lder, they are exiting the stage

    Where are the young people, where is the effort to recruit?

    Where are the County Committee people (at about 50% of slots filled) who are supposed to be doing the grass roots work.

    Most County Committee don’t even know they should be doing that kind of effort.

    They are the precinct captains.

    Sure, Shaun praised Golden; but maybe Shaun thinks he can do better.

    Bennett raised contributions? From what I hear the bank account doesn’t have much in it.

    Whatever. We will see what happens on the 10th. And, if it is a ground swell of support for Shaun or even a substantial margin of 30-50 votes, we’ll find out most County Committee people don’t agree with you.

    Remember, considering that the ranks are depleted, 50 votes is a nice margin.

    Remember also, Bennett only won by 3 votes; so he wasn’t exactly a barn burner of a candidate last time.

  17. Tim H said at 7:45 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    TOP 10 REASONS GOLDEN SHOULD NOT BE CHAIRMAN:

    1) No real experience running political organization at all. He showed up 5 years ago without any experience.

    2) His own town a mess and he did nothing to help fix it. He sat it out and did not want to be involved. He did not have the “balls” to lead.

    3) He is terribly conflicted as county wide elected official that wants to be party-boss. Can you say ethics charges to follow in the future, blowing up in our face?

    4) He was the chief engineer that led failed coupe to dump a popular sitting Freeholder, Gary Rich, with an unqualified, over the top 3x loser, Bobby Walsh. The failed coupe once again caused division and disharmony in the ranks that he fostered and led; after lying to Gary’s face.

    5) He has messes in his own department by hiring triple dippers on the tax-payer dime.

    6) He has not political loyalty to anyone or anything. Only to himself and will stab anyone in the back —- or in the chest — to further his own selfish causes.

    7) He wants to turn over the County political machine over to a handful of the big towns and return to the old days where you had to be from a big town to be anybody.

    8) He wants to dole out more county jobs to people when he is conflicted.

    9) He plans to use the sheriff’s office and county chairman’s job to be a “de-facto” County Executive; a role not allowed under this county form of government.

    10) He will/plans to use chair to build chips and topple sitting outstanding Congressman Chris Smith in 2 years. As chairman he can give himself the line and dump Smith, a supremely competent Congressman.

    Should we go on? This is just bad for the County and the Party and it needs to stop. I barely know Bennett but I know he has won elections, raised money and restored sanity. Just because Golden Boys says its “his time” does not entitle him to anything.

    The facts don’t lie. He should end his candidacy and work with Bennett and learn the ropes and perhaps succeed Bennett wen he steps aside.

  18. So Timmy said at 8:17 pm on May 27th, 2014:

    I see you are still parroting hate and repeating things that you have been proven wrong on.

    I also see you didn’t answer my question about you being a CC

    I also offered you a fair deal. Stop with the Golden Boy insults, and I will stop calling Bennett a Pig At The Trough Of Public $.

    That, and answer the question about Bennett wanting candidates to suspend fundraising individually so that it all goes to the county?

    What if the candidates don’t like how the county runs a campaign?

    They have no fall back position.

    You’re nothing but a fraud and a hack for the Chief Hack, Bennett.

  19. This County Committee Person said at 7:33 am on May 28th, 2014:

    All Tim H & his (few in numbers) ilk are doing with these stupid and vile attacks is firming the resolve of Shaun’s supporters & Shaun himself to win this for the long term growth of the Party.

    It’s this heavy handedness that is the trademark of Bennett’s tactics. Bennett himself said no negative campaigning. Why aren’t his supporters listening? Because Bennett says one thing, and then turns a blind eye.

    Shame on Bennett for allowing his supporters to throw mud. People know that Shaun is a decent and ethical guy. They won’t be deceived by the likes of people like Tim H.

  20. Still Waiting On Tim H. said at 11:29 am on May 28th, 2014:

    Someone asked some valid questions:

    a) Are You County Committee?

    b) What is fair about Bennett telling candidates they should suspend individual fundraising so that all of the money can go to the County fund?

  21. Where's Tim H said at 7:55 pm on May 28th, 2014:

    Still waiting on answers Tim.

  22. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Leading NJ Legal Scholar: Golden has no conflict serving as Chairman and Sheriff said at 10:08 am on June 9th, 2014:

    […] Bennett said last month that Golden’s initial response to the conflict issue was “shoddy legal work.”  He said, “I don’t know who his attorneys are but I hope the are not getting paid much by anybody.” […]