Republican Somerset County Sheriff candidate Bill Parenti is calling on his opponent to pay Franklin Township back for 273 hours of work marked as union time.
“My opponent should immediately pay back Franklin Township, and in turn, its taxpayers for the abuse of their trust and his 273 union time hours,” Parenti said. “Once again, I am stunned that that my opponent refuses to do the right thing by taxpayers. Leadership starts at the top, and as shown through his tenure in Franklin Township, my opponent is an expert at exploiting taxpayers.”
In early August, the Franklin Reporter reported that officers in the township had abused union time to take paid leave.
According to the report, Franklin officers are provided with up to 10 days paid leave for union proceedings, including meetings and fundraisers, among other things.
Darrin Russo, the Democratic candidate for Somerset Sheriff, took 273 hours of union time in the first half of 2016. He retired from his post a lieutenant there that June.
Russo did not immediately return a 1:20 PM call and text message seeking comment.
According to the Franklin Reporter, Russo is a former president of the branch of town’s police union representing sergeants and lieutenants.
“At a time when municipal budgets and taxpayers are so squeezed, Darrin’s choice to manipulate a policy to his financial benefit speaks volumes. His actions display his lack of leadership qualities and lack of qualifications to serve as sheriff,” Parenti said. “At a time when morale and public trust in law enforcement within the community is diminishing, my opponent has chosen to pour gas on the fire. I look forward to the conclusion of the Prosecutor’s investigation so we can gather an understanding of how badly my opponent has abused taxpayers.”