3 Individuals, Including 1 Councilman, Have Still Not Filed Their FDS

A review of the 2016 Financial Disclosure Statements (FDS) required to be filed by elected officials and certain employees in Roselle Park shows that three individuals, including a councilman, have not yet filed their FDS which had a deadline of April 30th.

A Financial Disclosure Statement – or FDS – is a form that is to be filled out by municipal elected officials and municipal officers where sources of income for key municipal employees as well as their immediate family members living in the same household become public information. The purpose of an FDS is to assure standards of ethical conduct and enhance transparency by making the public aware of any potential conflicts of interests with vendors, contractors, or other organizations or individuals doing business with a municipality. It also provides evidence of outside income if any municipal position or employee contract prohibits outside employment. Failure to file by the given deadline can result in violation and a fine that the individual, not the municipality will be responsible to pay.

Under NJS 40A:9-22.1 et seq., known as the Local Government Ethics Law, and FDS must be filed by April 30th each year or within 30 days of taking office.

As of May 9, 2016, the three individuals – along with their respective positions – who have not filed their FDS are:

  • Jesse Atwell (Construction Official)
  • Glen Costello (Municipal Land Use Board)
  • Mohamed ‘Gino’ Elmarassy (Councilmember)

Records show that last year Jesse Atwell filed his FDS on July 27th while Mr. Costello filed in October and Fourth Ward Councilman Elmarassy filed on April 27th.

A separate article will be forthcoming as to the failure of Doreen Cali, Roselle Park’s Borough Clerk, refusing to require the current Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Mark Pasquali from filing an FDS while the previous DPW Assistant Superintendent (Richard Graves) and DPW Superintendent (Vince Cahill) were required to do so.

Additionally, the Local Government Officer Roster – which is supposed to be maintained and updated by the Borough Clerk – has outdated information and still lists individuals whose terms had expired in 2014 although they are shown as being inactive.

Copies of all 60 FDS forms filled out to date by various elected officials and employees can be viewed at the Division of Local Government Services Financial Disclosure Statement web page (link).

A separate review of the school district equivalent, which is named the School Ethics Commission Personal Disclosure Statement, revealed that all the 24 required individuals had filed their forms for 2016. Those statements can be reviewed by going to the New Jersey Department Of Education (NJDOE) web page (link).