Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti, the current Democratic nominee for Atlantic County Clerk, is defending herself and her city after the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) raised concerns over the city’s sale of its water systems through the Water Infrastructure Protection Act (WIPA).
“The City has proceeded through the entire WIPA process in good faith,” she said. “We have been open and transparent with our actions and invited the public to participate throughout the process.”
Under WIPA, New Jersey municipalities can sell their water systems in the face of “emergent conditions” such as extensive disrepair or contamination. Egg Harbor City was the first municipality to initiate this process last year, but a public letter yesterday from OSC claimed the city did not properly disclose the sale and inappropriately used a municipal engineering firm both to assess emergent conditions and serve as an independent financial advisor.
“We disagree with OSC’s opinions about and interpretations of the WIPA law,” Jiampetti said. “The city followed the WIPA statute and [the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection] reviewed and approved every step of the process with assistance from [the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank] and [the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs].”
Regardless of how the dispute ultimately settles between the city and OSC, Republicans are wasting no time attacking Jiampetti in the midst of a competitive campaign for county clerk.
“The revelations in the OSC letter today are deeply disturbing,” said Hammonton Councilman Joe Giralo, the Republican nominee for the office. “After decades of mismanagement, the last thing the county clerk’s office needs is another incompetent leader. Perhaps Mayor Jiampetti should spend more time focused on her day job instead of the campaign trail.”
The current county clerk is Edward McGettigan, a Democrat first elected in 2006. McGettigan announced he was retiring from the seat in February of this year after facing extensive criticism for his handling of a botched Atlantic County Commissioner race in 2020; Jiampetti easily won the primary to replace him in June.