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Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride

Trenton Council President two years behind on personal financial disclosure filing

Kathy McBride says she thought paperwork was complete, will address with city clerk to avoid delinquency

By David Wildstein, September 20 2019 6:58 pm

Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride has not filed her personal financial disclosure with the state for the last two years, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

McBride told the Globe that she thought she had filed the paperwork, but recalled receiving a notice that she was delinquent in July.

“Sometimes I’m not on top of everything,” the council president said.  “I thought that I had filled out all the paperwork.  They had sent me an e-mail.  I definitely don’t want to be delinquent.”

McBride has not filed for 2018 and 2019, according to Tammori Petty, a spokesperson for the state Department of Community Affairs.

She was elected for the first time in 2018.  The other four councilmembers elected at the same time have filed on time, along with the two incumbents who were re-elected that year.  McBride is the only City Council member to be delinquent.

State law requires local elected officials to file annual disclosure statements that provide transparency related to sources of income over $2,000, honorariums over $250, gifts and reimbursements over $400, ownership of business interest, and real estate holdings.

These disclosures are relatively non-invasive as compared to those filed by top executive branch officials, legislators and Members of Congress.  They do not include amounts or ranges.

McBride said she was unsure what a personal financial disclosure entailed.

“I thought it was something where you give them a bank account number,” she said.  “I guess I have to talk to the (City) Clerk.”

Petty told the Globe that enforcement of financial disclosure violations rests with the Trenton Local Ethics Board.

Stephen A. Slusher, an Ethics Board member, said that no complaints have been filed against McBride.

“The City Clerk handles direct contact,” Slusher explained.  “We are only involved in enforcement.”

The city Ethics Board has the power to discipline or remove an official from office if they do not comply with disclosure requirements, although such action rarely reaches that level of punishment.

In 2014, the Department of Community Affairs began to crack down on compliance issues after NewsWorks/WHYY reported that 26.7% of all New Jersey mayors were delinquent in filing personal financial disclosures.

McBride has previously served on the City Council from 2010 to 2014, before giving up her seat to run unsuccessfully for mayor.

She did not file personal financial disclosure statements in 2014, her last year on the council, according to online records maintained by the Community Affairs which only go back to that year.

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