Fulop worked all summer to obtain several thousand signatures on petitions to bring two proposed laws to a public vote: One that would prohibit Jersey City City Council members from collecting a second salary and pension from their council job if they are already working in another taxpayer-funded public job; and another that would curtail political donations from professional service contractors.
However, the first initiative is unlikely to go to the November ballot, because the city attorney recently told Fulop that he had to get many more signatures than he'd gotten. Fulop is considering fighting this in court.
The second initiative did receive enough signatures to go to the November ballot. But the City Council, which turned the measure down before, may bring it up again to avoid having to deal with it in a public referendum.
The City Council will hear the contractor pay-to-play initiative at a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in Public School 4 in Jersey City.Valid for November
City Clerk Robert Byrne announced at this past Wednesday's City Council meeting that the signatures for the contractor donation referendum have been certified as valid. At that same meeting, several supporters of the referenda addressed the council and encouraged them to approve the contractor initiative and the salaries initiative if they are presented at future council meetings.
In complying with state statute, the council can vote in September for the contractor referendum to become municipal law. If they don't vote for it, it goes to the November ballot.
However, Mayor Jerramiah Healy has suggested an amendment to the referendum before it is considered by the council.
Healy suggested in an Aug. 13 letter to Fulop that Fulop add an amendment telling all candidates running for public office in Jersey City to file personal financial disclosures.
If they disclose a net worth of $2 million, or earnings of $500,000 a year for two years prior to running, then candidates could only get $2,600 from each contributor, including contractors.
In other words, if a candidate in the race was very wealthy, all campaign donors in the race would have the same donation limit.
Healy said he proposed this because Fulop's intitiative limiting political donations would hurt "candidates of modest means" who are running against wealthy opponents and need more donations. Fulop's pay-to-play ordinance limits contractors who want to do business with the city to donating only $300 per calendar year to candidates in local races.
"I can assure you that the amendment that I have suggested is in good faith," Healy wrote in his letter.
But critics of this amendment say Healy is just trying to stall Fulop's proposal or prevent it from reaching the November ballot. They also say he is trying to embarrass Fulop and other future opponents of Healy in an election by forcing them to reveal their finances.
Fulop countered that he will consider Healy's amendment if Healy is open to several of Fulop's suggestions: Making City Council positions full-time jobs and banning council members from accepting more than one public salary; removing the perks that elected officials receive in their jobs; and putting in place new anti-nepotism standards.
In any case, the Committee of Petitioners who worked on collecting the signatures for the referenda rejected the amendment proposed by Mayor Healy, and agreed that the measure should move forward unchanged.
Fulop said last week he will consider litigation if the council tries to approve the contract measure with Healy's amendment tacked on.
Meanwhile, regarding the salary ordinance, Fulop and his supporters were gearing up for future legal battles. They held a fundraiser on Tuesday at Lucky 7 Bar at Coles and Second streets. More than 150 people attended.
Healy criticized Fulop for "wasting time, effort, energy, and taxpayer dollars" in pursuing a legal fight against the city attorney's ruling. Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.