SEN. WHELAN IS ONLY ONE OF NINE ATLANTIC COUNTY LEGISLATORS WHO CAST LAME DUCK VOTE AGAINST CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST SAFEGUARDS
As Assemblymen John Amodeo and Vince Polistina were sworn into their second terms today, they called on Senator Whelan to use his final two years of his term to begin standing up for the interests of Atlantic County.
The Assemblymen were dismayed by the Senator?s lone Atlantic County vote to allow staff members of outgoing Governor Corzine?s administration to work for firms that work for casinos or companies seeking gaming licenses.
The Legislature voted yesterday, during the waning hours of the 2008-2009 legislative session, to abolish a long-standing, cooling-off period for state officials before they work for firms with casino clients.
?For decades, this law has helped protect Atlantic City against selfish interests of politicians but suddenly at the last moment of an expiring administration it?s deemed unnecessary,? Amodeo said. ?Anyone motivated to do what is best for our region can smell something rotten afoot.?
Amodeo and Polistina, both R-Atlantic, and six other legislators representing Atlantic County did not vote for repealing the ethics law. Whelan was the only Atlantic County lawmaker to vote for the repeal.
Whelan recently criticized a proposal by Amodeo and Polistina to eliminate salaries for board members on the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Although the measure would save the struggling casino industry $185,000 in annual salaries, Whelan dismissed it as ?piecemeal.?
?What is more piecemeal than a piece of legislation that gets rids of ethical firewalls to open up opportunity for a small group of soon-to-be-former gubernatorial employees?? Polistina said. ?Our state and gaming industry are in severe economic distress and our constituents more than ever need their officials representing them, not their political friends.?