The Monmouth Board of Freeholders have not yet captured the essence of shunning. After censuring John Curley following a five-month sexual harassment investigation, the Freeholders took away four of the ten county government departments Curley oversees.
If the Freeholders wanted to send a real message to the public – and demonstrate a lack of faith in Curley — they would have completely stripped him of his departmental responsibilities. One theory, I’m told, is that serving as the board liaison actually requires some effort, and the other Freeholders didn’t want to pick up his work.
Elected officials have no legal right to a serve on any panel except the ones they were elected to, or required by statute. Last December, a Wisconsin state legislator lost all of his committee assignments after two women accused him sexual assault. Leadership said that was “one of the few disciplinary actions available.” Similar loss of all committee assignments – not just some – was used against legislators in Oregon, Arizona and Washington in 2017.
In 2007, when two Democratic Assemblymen were arrested on federal corruption charges, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts removed them from all committee and leadership positions.
Curley accused his colleagues of payback after he filed a lawsuit against the Freeholders. In a statement the seems to lack credibility, Freeholder Tom Arnone claimed it wasn’t retaliation just the board decided “what would be best”
Curley has not announced if he will seek re-election to a fourth term this year. Monmouth GOP Chairman Shaun Golden has already said party leaders should not support him.