Friday, December 23, 2005

Caught Stealing

New Jersey Assemblywoman Evelyn Williams was arrested for shoplifting this week at a store in Irvington. Williams, a former Newark deputy mayor under Sharpe James, is charged with changing price stickers on two items (i.e., putting a $14.99 tag on a $60 set of bed sheets).

Williams took office on December 12th after winning a special election convention to replace the late Donald Tucker.

That's not the end of the story. The Star-Ledger reports:

Williams, a 25-year Essex County corrections officer whose salary topped out at $70,060, was caught by a security camera in the Valley Fair Super Discount Center on Chancellor Avenue putting $14.99 price tags on a $59.99 set of bedsheets and a $49.99 comforter, according to police reports.

Yesterday, after inquiries by The Star-Ledger into her other income sources, Essex County officials fired her, saying she'd been illegally collecting state retirement checks.

The Star-Ledger found Williams filed for retirement in August and has since received more than $11,000 in state checks as part of a $45,544-a-year pension package from the Police and Firemen's Retirement System, according to the state Division of Pensions and Benefits. But she continued working for the county and collecting paychecks, said Essex County Personnel Director Chris Durkin.

In a late-day meeting with Williams, county officials presented her with the evidence and fired her. They then instructed her to either return her pension checks to the state or pay back the salary she received since Sept. 1.

Typical dishonset New Jersey politician. But again, that's not all. The Star Ledger continues:
Williams also has a troubled driving history, records show. Her license was suspended 13 times between June 1995 and December 2004, mostly for unpaid parking tickets. Her last suspension, for failing to appear in Newark court, was in effect until Dec. 9, four days before she took the oath of office for her Assembly seat.

Response from the GOP State Chairman Tom Wilson (from PoliticsNJ):
This is the first test of Governor-elect Corzine's 'zero tolerance' policy toward public officials who betray the public trust," said Wilson. "His failure to call for her resignation from the Assembly marks the second major flip-flop of his yet to be inaugurated administration. First, he breaks his word and says he's going to raise the gas tax, now he's turning the other cheek when one his party members is caught illegally enriching themselves at the public expense. In less than 60 days, the candidate who was for lower taxes and an end to corruption has now broken both promises.
Check out Parkway Rest Stop's and the Barista of Bloomfield Avenue's thoughts on the Assemblywoman.

Ms. Williams needs to resign. Immediately.

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