News Article

Trenton Official Wants Financial Disclosure Measure

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. December 4, 2013

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Trenton Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward
Trenton Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward (photo by Phil Gregory)

A Trenton councilwoman is introducing a resolution that would urge candidates for public office in the city to disclose their personal credit information.

City Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward says she’s been considering the idea for a while but is pushing for it now because of the financial troubles surrounding Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, who is awaiting trial on bribery charges.

 “If you can’t manage your personal finances, there’s no way that you could really look at this budget and understand it, and what’s going on right now is the best example that you can give with the mayor.”

Three other council members support the resolution that will be voted on later this month.

Council President George Muschel says providing that information would help restore confidence in elected officials.

 “They put the people in there with trust that they’re going to lead the city forward or lead the government forward, and this is a big responsibility. I mean anybody who would object to this then there is a problem there, I have a problem. If somebody is going to say I don’t want you to go in my background or anything, why, what do you have to hide?”

Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson says anyone who runs for political office should have a basic knowledge of finances and ethics.

 “At least they understand the importance of dealing with the city’s budget, with managing the money, and paying the bills. If they understand the rudimentaries of paying their own bills, on a larger level on a large scale level they’re going to pay attention to how the city handles its bills.”

Councilwoman Holly-Ward hopes to make the financial disclosure mandatory next year.

She says it’s an idea other cities and towns in New Jersey might want to consider.

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