Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dual officeholder ban might actually happen

We weren't very optimistic that the proposed ban on dual officeholders would ever come to a vote in the State Legislature, especially since Senate President Richard Codey told us it was being taken off the board this time around.

But a bill banning the practice -- allowing a State Assemblyman/Assemblywoman or Senator to also be an elected mayor, councilman/woman, freeholder -- has already passed the Assembly and is set for a vote in the Senate tomorrow. Governor Jon Corzine has said he will sign the bill into law.
There are some unfortunate parts to the bill -- i.e., the ban won't likely go into effect until this time next year, allowing current elected officials to get in on the grandfather clause (if you hold dual offices before the effective date, you can continue to do so). But overall, we're happy that this practice will soon be a thing of the past.

Update: The Senate Democrats and Assembly Democrats can't get themselves on the same page -- they both want to ban the idea, but can't agree on when the ban should go into effect. We can't believe we're going to say this, but Sharpe James is right:

Sen. Sharpe James, D-Essex, who himself held two elected offices as Newark mayor from 1999 to 2006, said it would be "insincere" and "playing politics" to delay the ban until after November's election.

"Why are you waiting? So people can run, and then they would be grandfathered in? Then you're not sincere. It's not from the heart then. It's not gut. It's a political action," said James. "I don't think we should target the bill for any particular individual or what have you.

"I never wanted to be a dual-office holder. But if I resigned as mayor, it doesn't solve the problem," James said, before claiming that he quit his post to prove a point. "I voluntarily quit one to lead by example. Hello!"

Just get this done already.

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