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The fattest pensions for public workers Lawmakers start focusing on multiple job-holders

For lawyer Damian Murray, the road to a comfortable, taxpayer-supported retirement runs through Lacey Township. And Dover Township. And Seaside Heights. And five other Ocean County communities.

Murray, a former county freeholder, serves as a municipal court judge in those towns, and they will pay him a combined $287,000 for his services this year, according to figures prepared for a legislative panel by the state Division of Pensions and Benefits.

Appeal of eminent domain ruling set. Institute takes up Long Branch case

Some residents of the Marine Terrace-Ocean Terrace-Seaview Avenue area in Long Branch will file an appeal today in their case against the city's plan to use eminent domain to take their properties for redevelopment.

Scott G. Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, and Jeff Rowes, a staff attorney with the Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit group, announced the appeal — and said the institute was formally joining the case — during a meeting Tuesday with the Asbury Park Press editorial board.

UNDER THE DOME Stuart Rabner the next state Attorney General

 So Gov. Jon Corzine reached into his chief counsel’s office and plucked out Stuart Rabner to be the next state Attorney General.  Rabner comes with the reputation and the credentials to back it up, so on the surface it looks like Corzine finally made a good pick.

The question is: will Rabner be his own man and do the job the taxpayers expect him to do?  Or will he turn out to be yet another political hack who turns tail and hides at the first sign of a law being broken?

Rabner is going to have almost 10,000 employees under his wing, and with the huge backlog of investigations plaguing this state, let’s hope he knows how to use them the right way.

Some investigations that need to be answered:

Senator uses forum to grill schools chief. Cardinale asks about political patronage in Union City

The Union City schools superintendent expected laudatory questions from a property tax committee Tuesday about his model of an urban school district, but instead he found himself insulated from questions about whether there is political patronage spending in the school system.

Union City Superintendent Stanley M. Sanger told the property tax committee looking at school funding how Abbott vs. Burke aid has helped his district improve test scores, hire more staff and transform itself from being on the verge of a state takeover to receiving widespread accolades.

Shortly afterward, committee member state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, fired off questions about whether Sanger has hired those with political connections in a district that receives at least 75 percent of its $187 million budget from the state.

Study calls Jersey a taxing place to call home. The new budget, with its 5 percent higher levies, outpaces other states'

New Jersey's reputation as a tax hell just got worse.

The $1.9 billion worth of tax increases in the state's new budget represents a 5 percent increase over last year, far outpacing any other state, according to a study by the National Conference of State Legislators.

New Jersey now has the highest state sales tax, tied with three other states, at 7 percent. Its cigarette tax now leads in the nation. And, of course, this all comes on top of the nation's highest average property taxes.

Testing the limits of free speech. Departmental hearing nears for Trenton officer

In more than a decade as a Trenton police officer, William "Butch" Osterman has chased down car thieves, collared a man who doused a barber with gasoline and was dragged by a car driven by a fleeing suspect. His colleagues once chose him as the officer of the year.

But these days, Osterman is the center of his own criminal justice story, one that revolves around free speech and whether using the Internet to criticize his own police department represents a breach of rules, or an exercise of his rights as a citizen.

Actions triple on Hoboken drugs, gangs

HOBOKEN - Outrage over the murder of a local teenager earlier this year combined with a recent massive drug raid has led city officials to ramp up their use of a controversial "one-strike" policy that allows them to kick suspected criminals out of city public housing.

"We are in the process of making Hoboken a safe, decent place to live. One way to combat the drug and gang activity is to make residents realize the seriousness of the crimes and understand that they are risking tenancy," Hoboken Housing Authority Executive Director Bob DiVincent said.

Hoboken mom getting punished for son's crime?

HOBOKEN - Linda Grooms observed her son's 25th birthday last December by throwing him out of her $50-a-month public housing apartment, saying she was frustrated because he repeatedly failed to get a real job - and instead brashly flaunted his drug activity.

Weeks later Hoboken police arrested her son and charged him with possession of 99 bags of heroin. Police never linked Linda Grooms to her son's arrest, but since his name was still on the lease, Grooms was evicted from her apartment. She has a few more months to find a new home.

Date set for meeting on police-merger plan

The civilian leaders and chiefs of the eight municipal police departments in southern coastal Monmouth County, which Belmar proposes merging into one force, will meet Sept. 12 in Spring Lake to discuss the idea.

Belmar Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle and Police Chief Jack Hill are the architects of the plan to combine the forces of Belmar, Brielle, Lake Como, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights and Wall into a South Monmouth Police
Department.

BUSTED IN HOBOKEN

Busted in Hoboken

Source: NJ Tammany.com

From the Jersey Journal’s Bonnie Friedman, we find out:

Thirteen members of the Police Department were reprimanded this week in the wake of a 14-month investigation that ended with the resignation of the department’s highest ranking female police officer, said Chief Carmen LaBruno.

According to LaBruno, GPS tracking devices used as evidence against Capt. Karen Dimonde […]