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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Vas’

 Inside_the_StatehouseBy Assemblyman Joseph Vas

Six years ago when I ran for the Assembly, one of my objectives was to strengthen our public schools. For years, the Legislature sought a solution to the oft-controversial process of allocating state tax dollars to New Jersey’s 616 school districts. Whereas our State Constitution mandates a “thorough and efficient” education for all public school students, our goal must be to ensure that all students are adequately educated and prepared for the workforce. 

Until recently, New Jersey had systematically allocated state aid to two groupings—the 31 “Abbott” school districts and the 585 “non-Abbott” school districts. The Abbott designation arose from a 1990 State Supreme Court ruling that held certain school districts with high concentrations of poor residents and relatively low property value were entitled to special state aid. Abbott districts received about half of all state aid while educating only one-quarter of all public school students.  

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Plea shows taint infects school system

PERTH AMBOY—Ana Pestrana, a part-time assistant recreation supervisor who is employed full-time by the city’s school district, became the second municipal employee to plead guilty to charges of using city funds to purchase items for former Mayor Joseph Vas.

Pestrana admitted in court on Monday that she used city funds to buy sneakers, beach wear and other clothing for Vas, submitting credit card receipts for those items to the Perth Amboy Housing Development Corporation between Aug. 1, 2005 and July 1, 2006.

Pestrana agreed to give up the school job as part of her plea bargain. Superior Court Judge Frederick De Vesa agreed to let her finish the year as a special education teacher at the Shull Middle School, noting that she has agreed to testify against Vas and other defendants.

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Vas Collaborators

One Admits Guilt…

PERTH AMBOY — Jeffrey D. Gumbs, who was a top city administrator under former Mayor Joseph Vas, pleaded guilty Monday to theft, tampering with public records and the misapplication of the city’s property between April 2004 and November 2005.

Gumbs, who was the city’s director of human resources and supervisor of recreation for many years, pleaded guilty to stealing about $2,500 from taxpayers in the New Brunswick courtroom of Judge Frederick DeVesa.

Under the plea bargain, the state will recommend that Gumbs be sentenced on June 26 to probation, he must pay restitution to the city and he will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

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Raymond J. Geneske

Raymond J. Geneske

PERTH AMBOY — Raymond J. Geneske, 73, a member of the Board of Education was charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree official misconduct and third-degree money laundering in connection with his role who as chairman of the 2006 congressional campaign of former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas.

Charged along with Geneske was Melvin Ramos, 53, a former mayoral aide who served as treasurer of Vas’ campaign. The two Vas associates will be ordered to appear in Superior Court in Middlesex County to answer the charges, according to Attorney General Anne Milgram.

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Joseph Vas (file photo)

Joseph Vas (file photo)

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced that New Jersey Assemblyman and former Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas was indicted Wednesday on charges he conspired with city employees to steal approximately $5,000 in funds of the City of Perth Amboy to pay for personal purchases and expenses.

Vas, 54, was also indicted with his personal driver, Anthony S. Jones, 48, of Perth Amboy, in connection with an alleged scheme in which Vas rigged a public lottery so that Jones won the opportunity to buy an affordable two-family home through the Perth Amboy Home Program.

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D-Camden) removed Vas from his post as Assembly Deputy Majority Leader and his committee positions Thursday while calling on the Perth Amboy Democrat to resign.

“Any time an elected official is accused of using their office for personal gain, it stains the reputations of all of us who have chosen to dedicate ourselves to public service,” Roberts said. “Assemblyman Vas should do what is best for his constituents and the Assembly and resign from office.”

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Inside_the_Statehouseby Assemblyman Joseph Vas

In my years of public service, one thing always remains the same: When times are good, the public generally asks government to limit its influence, but when rough economic times hit the public often turns to the government for answers. Today we find ourselves in the midst of a sobering economic recession and many New Jerseyans are turning to their representatives for help. I understand and see first hand the struggles that families are facing and have been honored to answer that call.

As Assemblyman for the 19th Legislative District, I promised to serve as your eyes and ears in Trenton. This past weekend, I brought the best of Trenton to you. We often hear about the wide array of government services available. However, sometimes we run into bureaucratic roadblocks and do not know how to access these services. On Saturday, Feb. 28, I brought those services right here to the 19th Legislative District in an event appropriately named Community Outreach Day.

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Inside_the_StatehouseBy Assemblyman Joseph Vas

With each New Year, we must take stock of past accomplishments and turn our sights to future challenges. There is no doubt that our economy is struggling, and if past history is an indicator for New Jersey, we will emerge stronger. New Jerseyans are all feeling the pinch. The economic turmoil is devastating much more than just our bottom lines—but also it is our jobs, our homes, and our college and retirement savings that are endangered. 

In 2008, New Jersey lost a total of 59,800 jobs—the biggest one-year loss since 1991, leaving New Jersey with a 7.1 percent unemployment rate. In order to spur job growth and create a business friendly environment, I was proud to sponsor InvestNJ, a $120 million incentive-based program, created to encourage New Jersey businesses to grow their operation during these tough economic times. Incentives include offering $3,000 grants to businesses for each new job created and retained for one year and Capital Investment Grants awarding up to one million dollars toward new construction, equipment and renovation.

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