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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Farber's exit

The folks running the show in Trenton must think the people they represent are a bunch of fools. Here we have Gov. Corzine praising Attorney General Zulima Farber for doing a great job as head of the Department of Law and Public Safety and, in resigning, doing "more than might ordinarily be required for a lapse of judgment'' in going to her boyfriend's aid after he was stopped at a police checkpoint. We have Farber acknowledging a judge's report that she violated three ethics rules but noting, "I am steadfast in my convictions that the judge's findings do not compel my resignation.'' If the lines were written to portray Farber as at once a heroic and tragic figure, it didn't work.

Sorry, governor, but this is more than a lapse of judgment. We have the attorney general violating her department's own ethics code by actions, the judge found, that created the appearance of violating the public trust, using her position to receive unwarranted privileges and acting in a way to give the appearance of personal bias. That's unconscionable for the state's top law enforcer in an administration that boasts of high ethical standards.

And sorry, attorney general, but if the judge's findings didn't compel the resignation, they should have. Farber admitted "to being human and making that error.'' But the apology rang hollow. She doesn't seem to appreciate the impact of her appearance at the checkpoint. By going there, she gave every indication that she believes she is above the law. It's yet another example of a public official who deep down believes that if what she did wasn't illegal, then it was OK. But it was wrong, which is what really counts in the eyes of most New Jerseyans. Maybe, in due time, Farber will recognize that truth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This so-called special prosecutor, a retired judge, chose the easy way out. At the very least, he should have referred this matter to a grand jury. Judge Williams could have easily decided to charge Farber and the cops that voided those tickets with Official Misconduct. He just lacked the stones to do just that.

2C:30-2...Official Misconduct

It should come as little surprise that the NJSP Trooper and the Fairview cops in question, through their PBA-paid attorneys, opted very quickly to accept Judge Williams' "Christmas in August" offer to be punished by nothing more than a 14-day suspension without pay. In a just world, these cops would be under indictment and looking to their relatives for bail money.

2:42 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Nick Fera said...

Judge Williams knew exactly what he was supposed to do -- write a report so scathing that Farber would have to resign so that Corzine could avoid the unpleasant task of firing her. I'm sure that's what Corzine subtly let him know he wanted. Does anyone really believe in this notion of "independent investigation" in the political arena? Give me a break. Anyway, all's well that ends well. Farber is out; she was unfit because of her own driving record. Even McGreevey knew that.

3:38 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe in this notion of an "independent investigation" in the political arena? -- Quoting Nick Fera

Umm, yeah, call me naive, but I, for one, sure do. Instead of having the Governor pick his lackey ... er ... um ... I mean ... "special prosecutor," let, say, a three-judge panel from the Appeals Court pick that Special Prosecutor. Make that Special Prosecutor answerable only to the three-judge panel and not to the Chief Executive himself. As Mr. Fitzpatrick and Scooter Libby will both be quick to point out, that is precisely how they handle it on the Federal level. While I certainly wouldn't suggest for a moment that the Feds have the perfect system -- they don't! -- the Independent Counsel system they operate puts to shame anything we have seen here in New Jersey.

Judge Williams had his fifteen minutes of fame -- and he did so without getting his hands dirty, which is precisely what the job required. He will go on to collect his fat judicial pension and the government-paid health insurance that he now enjoys. He won't, however, ever be regarded as anything but a coward that did that which was politically expedient.

4:42 PM, August 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Judge Williams knew exactly what he was supposed to do -- write a report so scathing that Corzine could avoid the unpleasant task of firing her." -- Quoting Nick Fera

Nick, it might surprise you to learn that a New Jersey Governor cannot merely fire an Attorney General for any reason. The process is considerably more complicated than you suggest.

4:49 PM, August 16, 2006  
Blogger njtaxpayer4 said...

Didn't it strike anyone that is was odd that Corzine was so emphatic that he specifically mentioned that he did not ask for Farber's resignation?

One would think that would be the first thing the Governor would have done after seeing the report. Theres alot of smoke and mirrors going on here. Wonder if this thing will spiral out of control with the Estrada connection, and the other Union Freeholder now being mentioned as the MVC contact in Trenton. Wonder who the mayor of Fairlawn was referring to, when asking Farber about a contact's pending app in front of the State Medical Examiners Board.....
If I was in the GOP, I'd be screaming for another Independent Investigator, that facts are out there, should not take long to suss it all out now that the trail is hot....

Wonder where Z will end up. My bet is a government agency. She can't take a job with a NJ firm doing casino work for 2 years per state law. That would rule out most of the high powered, politically connected firms in the state

11:12 AM, August 17, 2006  

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