Frank Balles, Republican candidate for Atlantic County Sheriff, today charged that Sheriff Jim McGettigan obtained a county-issued gasoline credit card ?under completely false pretenses by claiming it would be used for the safety of his officers while on duty, but then using it personally to make purchases at private service stations at the taxpayers? expense.?

According to county records, McGettigan, in his request for a credit card, said it would contribute to the protection of his officers ?traveling in the state and surrounding areas retrieving fugitives.?

?A county analysis of the card?s use, however, put the lie to McGettigan rationale by revealing that he personally ran up credit card bills of nearly $2,500, while purchases charged by his officers totaled only $642,? Balles said. ?Further, McGettigan used the card 72 times and his officers only 24 times.?

?It is contemptible that McGettigan tried to use concern for the safety of his officers as a method to obtain a personal benefit,? Balles said. ?What kind of law enforcement officer would stoop so low as to place his own personal welfare ahead of the officers under his command and then use those officers to shield himself from scrutiny??

?Using his own argument about providing safety for his officers, his personal use of the credit card resulted in his officers being placed in greater danger,? Balles said.

?McGettigan has told one falsehood after another to evade responsibility for his continued abuse of the gasoline credit card — abuse that reached such outrageous levels that the card was revoked by the county administration,? Balles said.

?This latest revelation, however, that he sought the card only to protect his officers in the discharge of their duties is beneath contempt,? Balles said. ?Their safety was not his concern; his personal convenience was all he cared about and he was not reluctant to use his officers as a tool to achieve it.?

?He has lied from the outset,? Balles said, ?including his contention that his credit card privileges were revoked by a state directive rather than by the county and that he received a discount on his gasoline purchases.?

?He is pathologically incapable of telling the truth about his use of the credit card,? Balles said.

?Even in the face of the action to put an end to his abuse, he dipped into the Department?s petty cash fund to pay for gasoline purchases until that was discovered and he was ordered to halt that practice as well,? Balles said.



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