Democratic Party Chairman Among 6 City Lawyers Illegally In Pension System

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The leader of the city's Democratic Organization, TK Shamy, is the assistant city attorney mentioned specifically in a report by the State Comptroller's Office, according to Business Administrator Thomas Loughlin.

As we reported yesterday, the report detailed a state investigation into the City of New Brunswick and 57 other local governments.

And it found that all but one, Bridgewater Township, had independent contractors improperly enrolled in the state's pension system.  A law adopted in 2007 had intended to remove such individuals from the pension system.

But city officials insist that it's just a disagreement between the state and city over interpretation of the law.

Loughlin confirmed at last night's City Council meeting that Ben Bucca, an attorney for the Rent Control Board and Planning Board was among the six.  He also said Richard Vietch was the public defender referred to in the report.

Loughlin said he was still having difficulty discerning who the three prosecutors mentioned in the report are.

According to the report from State Comptroller Matthew Boxer, the attorneys in question should have been removed from the pension system as of June 30, 2008 to comply with the new law.

But Loughlin took exception to the report, titled "Improper Participation By Professional Service Providers in the State Pension System."

He said his office had complied with the Comptroller's request for information since January 2010, and that he was "personally offended" at the use of the word "illegally" in media reports about the issue, referring to the Star-Ledger's headline and NewBrunswickToday.com's.

He said that a draft version of the report he was sent by the Comptroller's office was "25% incorrect" and that it mistakenly said both of the assistant city attorneys were improperly enrolled in the pension system.  As it turned out, the other assistant city attorney, Charly Gayden, is not enrolled at all.

He also said it took him two months to convince the Comptroller's Office that City Engineer Tom Guldin was a bona fide employee and not a contractor who should not be in the system.

The Comptroller's report recommended the removal of 202 contractors inappropriately enrolled in the state pension system, including the six from New Brunswick.  We'll keep you posted on this story as it develops.

Video from last night's meeting will soon be posted here on the city's Vimeo page.

 

Charlie is a community organizer, a Rutgers journalism graduate, and a 2018 independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.

He can be reached at (732) 993-9697 or [email protected]