STATEMENT OF SCOTT NEUMAN ON GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF OCEAN COUNTY RESIDENT JACK KELLY TO THE NEW JERSEY PAROLE BOARD:
Good afternoon, my name is Scott Neuman. I am a resident of Manchester Township in Ocean County, I am a Democrat, and for full disclosure, I am a Democratic candidate for the office of Ocean County Freeholder against Jack Kelly. I appear here today to speak against the Governor’s nomination of Jack Kelly of Ocean County to the New Jersey State Parole Board.
At present and for many years now, Ocean County Government is and has been controlled by the Republican Party generally, and by Ocean County and New Jersey State Republican Party Chairman, “BOSS” George Gilmore, specifically. The sad truth and actual reality is that this has been allowed to continue because a few Democratic Party Bosses have negotiated a “Detante” of sorts with Mr. Gilmore, where in exchange for a few Republican political patronage jobs for a chosen few Democrats, has purchased in return no real effort from the Democrats to run serious Democratic challenges anywhere in Ocean County. One need only look at the number of registered Democrats and the number of registered Republicans, and then at the number of unaffiliated registered voters, to be called to naturally scratch their head in confusion and wonder as to how only one Municipality – Brick – in all of Ocean County is under Democratic control, with over 90% of the other Municipalities having 100% of their elected officials Republican. This is no mistake and it is no accident. The Democrats have been sold out in Ocean County by the Democratic Party Bosses. Myself and my Freeholder running mate Tracy Caprioni – the “Ocean County Anti-Corruption Democrats” – intend to change that this fall.
In any event, I am here today to address the issue of Republican Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly and the Parole Board. I am not niave’. I understand that a patronage job such as Member of the New Jersey Parole Board is not awarded after people submit a job application and a resume through monster.com. You are only considered based primarily upon political considerations. But even with this reality, traditionally these jobs are not handed out by the Governor to unqualified persons.
It was only maybe 10 years ago that the Chairman of the Parole Board – I believe he was appointed by former Democratic Governor McGreevy – was John D’Amico, Jr. from Monmouth County. Like Mr. Kelly, Mr. D’Amico was a former elected Municipal Official. But unlike Mr. Kelly who is a High School Graduate, Mr. D’Amico was also a Harvard Undergrad, Harvard Law School Grad, former State Senator, and former Superior Court Judge. And Governor McGreevy, a former Executive Director of the Parole Board himself early in his career, was only appointed to such a position at a time in his life when he was already in possession of a Law Degree and experience as a former Middlesex County Prosecutor, both academic and practical criminal justice experience. My point is that while these important positions are filled by POLITICAL appointees, they have – prior to this Governor – always been filled by QUALIFIED political appointees.
Mr. Kelly on the other hand has none of these things and quite clearly is only seeking to add to his tax payer funded pension. Mr. Kelly holds no Junior College, College, or advanced degrees, he not a former police officer, and most importantly he holds no actual practical criminal justice experience whatsoever. I am not saying someone without a Junior College or College Degree is or should be immediately disqualified from consideration for an appointed position to the Parole Board. Indeed, many times actual life experience in the Criminal justice Field would make a candidate more desirable that someone who happens to hold a Junior College or College degree. Many law local and county enforcement officials have gone through and graduated the Police Academy but have no actual Junior College or College Degree, but such persons would certainly be “qualified”. But Mr. Kelly never went to the Police Academy either. And being an Ocean County Freeholder who is voting on an annual budget that partially fund criminal justice matters is not real criminal justice experience by any means.
Moreover, we have recently learned from emails that were published in the media last week that Ocean County Sheriff Mastronardy – one of BOSS Gilmore’s Republican own Elected Official’s – has questioned in WRITING Mr. Kelly’s Mental Health, bringing into question whether Kelly suffers from Manic Depression. If this is true it is unfortunate, and there is help and medicine that may help such a condition. But if a candidate for a job as a pilot of a 747 was found to have epilepsy – a treatable condition – he or she nevertheless would not be given the job as a pilot of a 747 where hw would put the lives of hundreds of passengers in jeopardy. It is just too dangerous.
So too here with Mr. Kelly. He can seek help for himself if the Sheriff’s allegations are indeed true – I do not know whether they are true or not, I am not Mr. Kelly’s Physician, and Mr. Kelly has not responded to the allegations – but the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee must inquire further on the issue and should not put someone who had not been fully vetted in such an important position. The “vetting” process for such an important position should be more than review of the orders of a few Political Party Bosses. Ask Mr. Kelly about the status of his mental health. The New Jersey citizens deserve better. And the New Jersey Parole Board deserves better than Mr. Kelly with all that is known about him.