Twp. of Hamilton Democrat ComMittee

6039 Main St

Mays Landing, NJ 08330

Phone (609) 402-2781


Press Release

Contact: Steve Radcliffe, Chairman

Phone: (609) 402-2781


January 8, 2008


Newly Sworn In Republican Hamilton Township Committee

Violates Law with Reorganization Appointments


Members of the Hamilton Township Committee violated the law with their selection of two unqualified professionals at Monday night’s re-organization meeting.  At the annual meeting, the Township Committee selects firms to provide professional services to the Township.  Two of these appointments clearly violate the Pay to Play laws.  The selection of Randy Lafferty as Township Solicitor and Angela Costigan as Alternate Township Solicitor were the only two out of seven attorneys responding to the Township’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) who failed to meet the most important qualification for solicitor adopted by the Committee, actually being a Municipal Solicitor. 


The Committee, who recently reduced qualifications for all professionals, currently has a minimum requirement of 5 years experience as a Municipal Solicitor with 3 years in a similar sized municipality for the applicant.  Lafferty’s RFQ response showed no experience as a Municipal Solicitor and Costigan’s showed only 1 year as indicated in the Township Administrator’s Executive Summary of the RFQ’s for the Township Committee.  The other 5 attorneys had from 5 to 33 years experience.  Despite being the only two failing to meet the requirements, both were selected over the qualified attorneys.  A review of campaign contributions reveals that Lafferty, Co-Chairman to the campaign personally and through his law firm, contributed thousands of dollars to the 2007 Republican ticket for Township Committee.


The violation occurred with the appointment of Lafferty who contributed significant money to the 2007 campaign for the successful Republican ticket for Township Committee, submitted an RFQ, failed to meet the requirements that 5 other did meet, and was appointed as Township Solicitor anyway. 


Many Democrats and Republicans alike are upset at the blatant disregard for the law and public perception of impropriety apparently in complete disregard of their own “Open and Honest” mantra.  Republican Committeeman Joe Nickels voted against the appointments stating they do not meet the qualifications.  Former Democratic Mayor Tom Palmentieri also spoke against the selections.  Several people are discussing filing complaints to the Ethics Board and for Pay to Play violations.  


Candidates for public office have been required to report contributions to their campaigns for some time. While this made contributions public information, there were no restrictions on appointing contributors to public positions.  As a result, many unqualified people were given appointments based on their contributions to campaigns.  To address in problem in politics and government, the Pay to Play law was passed to prevent campaign contributors from “buying” their way into lucrative appointments to government by requiring a fair and open process be undertaken for selecting professionals such as solicitors and engineers.  The appointing governmental body establishes qualifications and solicits requests for qualifications (RFQ’s) from any professionals wishing to be considered for the positions.  The governing body can select from those who respond to the solicitation and meet the qualifications.  This did not happen.