Author Archive: Moshe Cohen

Dual Office Holders Incompatible with Ethical and Inclusive Government

On a recent campaign stop I was asked by a citizen what does it mean? He asked the question because I have it on my literature. I would like address it:
Holding of municipal and freeholder positions creates a conflict of interest, is undemocratic, concentrates power in the hands of few and encourages double or triple dipping. The practice of nominating a well connected politician to multiple public positions is unethical and is offensive to inclusive government.
It took many years and public pressure to convince some Morris County elected officials that the practice is wrong I would like to commend Freeholder Feyl for resigning his municipal job and Chegwidden for giving it a serious consideration. After all they are following the recommendation of their Republican colleague who has been introducing bills to that effect since 2002. I would like to quote Senator Kean.


“Allowing politicians to hold multiple elected positions is driving property taxes higher and higher. It concentrates power in the hands of a few and creates conflicts of interest.  It frustrates the system of checks and balances between levels and branches of government, promotes pension double-dipping, amplifies pork-barrel spending and restricts the number of people involved in government at a time when we need fresh ideas.”


This is not a new concept. It took several years for 2 of the freeholders to accept the idea that it is wrong. My opponents, however, continue to disregard the public sentiment, common sense and their own leaders.
Freeholder Schrier is a Mendham Township committee member as such he holds dual elected positions. It creates a poor public perception of our Government and raises issues of accountability.


Freeholder Cabana is listed as prosecutor in 8 Morris County Municipalities according to the 2007 Morris County Manual. Morris County has many qualified lawyers. Douglas Cabana, however, contributes to local candidates in a typical pay to play scenario. This is not illegal but it creates a very poor perception of our county government. Inclusive government seeks candidates from variety of constituents and from both parties.
I recently was present at the Mt. Arlington council meeting where citizens raised concerns about the elimination of their police department. A concerned citizen indicated that Mayor Ondish accepted campaign contributions from Cabana.
I would like to contrast this behavior with that of slightly less prolific Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi. One of Bianchi’s first key hires was William Schievella as deputy chief of investigations. He had been a Republican councilman in Rockaway Township.

Morris County needs inclusive government representing all of our citizens regardless of party affiliation or political contributions.
Unfortunately, the nominees to the Morris County boards and commissions are highly partisan and are not representative of the will of our citizens.

I am running for the Freeholder Board to regain the trust of the voters and to eliminate any gaps in ethics and the perception of such. I am running to eliminate pay to play and to have a truly representative and inclusive government. I will open nominations to citizens of both parties and seek nominees based on qualifications and not political contributions.

Jim Murray at odds with the party of seniority

We have a lot in common with Jim Murray, the Republican Freeholder candidate. We are trying to change a system controlled by professional politicians who often are dual office holders and resist any change. Jim’s success in the primary is resented by the powers of the status quo and they use the argument of seniority as a barrier. The current method of seniority needs an overhaul and Jim is a threat.

We agree with Jim Murray. Seniority protects professional politicians and is a barrier to new ideas and change. This institution needs a reform. It will come from within the Republican Party and from Democratic challengers.

Moshe Cohen, Freeholder Candidate.

Declining Recycling Rates; We Need Leadership.

Recycling rates have been declining in Morris County, from a peak of 64.6% in 1997 to 53.6% in 2004. The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority wants to reverse the trend and bring Morris County into compliance with state-mandated goals. I certainly agree with the goal, but I have doubts about how they plan to achieve it. The MCMUA enforcement office will inspect regular trash for recyclable materials. The inspection will take place at the transfer stations and is aimed at the haulers. Although it is illegal to put certain recyclable materials in regular trash, the solution is to make it easy for the waste generators to comply with the law, not to threaten the waste haulers. The Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders will have to take the lead in finding sensible, creative ways to improve recycling rates.
In a December 29, 2006 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress that audits and evaluates the performance of the federal government, released a report entitled “Recycling: Additional Efforts Could Increase Municipal Recycling.” According to the report, the three practices cited most often by recycling professionals across the country were: (1) making recycling convenient and easy for their residents, (2) offering financial incentives for recycling, and (3) conducting public education and outreach. I support all three.
At the last Freeholders’ meeting, I urged the Freeholders to review the policy of collecting hazardous waste only in inconvenient locations and only approximately twice a year. If you participated in this waste drop-off ordeal, you understand well what I mean by inconvenience. I propose that such waste (often just an empty propane container or a can of oil-based paint) be collected at each municipal recycling center and picked up by the MUA. The minimal cost that this will entail dwarfs the cost of hazardous waste in our trash and the moral impact on law-abiding citizens so inconvenienced that they commit infractions.
I will cite one of many other examples. In my town of Randolph, grass clippings can be brought to the recycling center on the weekend only. If you mow your own lawn on Monday because the weekend is rainy, you have to store the clippings for a week. Your home/garage becomes the “recycling center.”
We have many dedicated folks, young and old, who care about quality of life in Morris County. They will gladly volunteer their time and efforts to make this place a better place to live. Provide the leadership and you will get the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to help, high school and college students through their clubs, seniors and ordinary citizens.
Don’t pass off your responsibilities to the waste haulers!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has programs that create voluntary partnerships with groups such as universities and businesses. They offer competitive grants for projects that encourage recycling. Such grants can provide the seed money for volunteer groups and organizations. Take advantage of it.
Finally, the Freeholders can encourage municipalities to share their best practices and learn from others across the country. This is called leadership. That’s why I am running for election to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Moshe Cohen

Location of Morris County Freeholders’ Meetings

In an attempt to address the issue of public participation the Freeholders decided to hold few of their meetings in several towns across Morris County. They chose to hold the first one in Montville, adding that they do not expect public participation.
I agree with them and suggest that if they truly want the public to participate and that they hold the meeting in Parsippany which has the largest and most representative population in the County.
I am very confident that the public will participate and contribute. I will personally help to bring the public since one of my goals in this election is to get the public know about the Freeholders and what they do.

What Are Freeholders

The Board of Chosen Freeholders is the seven member board that governs Morris County. The Freeholders control a budget of approximately 285 Million Dollars, primarily financed by local tax dollars. These taxes have increased approximately 4.6% from 2006 to 2007.
The Freeholders meet in public sessions twice each month. During the morning session issues are discussed and questions from the public are not allowed.  In the evening session, Freeholders review decisions made in the AM and typically vote 7-0 with relatively little discussion.  There is commonly substantive homogeneity of opinion, as you would expect from a one party board.
After attending few of these meetings it becomes very clear why most of us know little about this one party group. Because of their mid-week, mid-morning schedule, the meetings are inconvenient for the average citizen to attend and contribute. Further exacerbating this problem is that both morning and evening sessions must be attended in order to raise educated questions.  During the AM sessions, Freeholders take reports and discuss issues, and only during the evening sessions is the public allowed to comment!  In the evening session the discussion and the voting are so predictable that the most contentious point of these sessions becomes the recognition of achievement of local community groups.
Public participation in discussion is nonexistent. When someone put a pointed question to the Freeholder board, the attitude is: You are not an invited guest in our fiefdom.
The public is not heard, not encouraged to attend, not challenged by creative thinking nor constructive discussion. We pay the taxes and don’t even know who spends our money.
Morris County Needs a Second Opinion. We need discussion not just a rubber stamp. We need checks and balances.
Over forty percent of votes were cast for Democratic candidates in the last election, yet there are virtually no Democrats represented on county boards and appointments.  These unheard voiced are your neighbors with whom you share common concerns about high property taxes, congested roads, parks and open space, education and healthcare. These voters are essentially excluded from the entire political process in Morris County. Do you really believe that 40% of the voters cannot contribute to making this county a better place to live?
I don’t.
I was challenged by the exclusionary tactics of the current freeholders and decided to run and provide the second opinion that keeps Morris County Government clean, creative and inclusive.
Probably the most important task facing us is trying to eliminate the spiral of ever rising property taxes. We believe that some voluntary sharing of services among municipalities is desirable. Advancing this goal requires some common ground and trust among municipalities as well as representation in Trenton for assistance and funding.
We need broad participation of citizens and towns. A one party county does not provide
this broad participation at home or in Trenton.
Help us open the process so that next year you are part of it and you know what freeholders do!

“No one party can fool all of the people all of the time; that’s why we have two parties”.
Bob Hope

Moshe Cohen PhD Freeholder Candidate

What Are Freeholders

The Board of Chosen Freeholders is the seven member board that governs Morris County. The Freeholders control a budget of approximately 285 Million Dollars, primarily financed by local tax dollars. These taxes have increased approximately 4.6% from 2006 to 2007.
The Freeholders meet in public sessions twice each month. During the morning session issues are discussed and questions from the public are not allowed.  In the evening session, Freeholders review decisions made in the AM and typically vote 7-0 with relatively little discussion.  There is commonly substantive homogeneity of opinion, as you would expect from a one party board.
After attending few of these meetings it becomes very clear why most of us know little about this one party group. Because of their mid-week, mid-morning schedule, the meetings are inconvenient for the average citizen to attend and contribute. Further exacerbating this problem is that both morning and evening sessions must be attended in order to raise educated questions.  During the AM sessions, Freeholders take reports and discuss issues, and only during the evening sessions is the public allowed to comment!  In the evening session the discussion and the voting are so predictable that the most contentious point of these sessions becomes the recognition of achievement of local community groups.
Public participation in discussion is nonexistent. When someone put a pointed question to the Freeholder board, the attitude is: You are not an invited guest in our fiefdom.
The public is not heard, not encouraged to attend, not challenged by creative thinking nor constructive discussion. We pay the taxes and don’t even know who spends our money.
Morris County Needs a Second Opinion. We need discussion not just a rubber stamp. We need checks and balances.
Over forty percent of votes were cast for Democratic candidates in the last election, yet there are virtually no Democrats represented on county boards and appointments.  These unheard voiced are your neighbors with whom you share common concerns about high property taxes, congested roads, parks and open space, education and healthcare. These voters are essentially excluded from the entire political process in Morris County. Do you really believe that 40% of the voters cannot contribute to making this county a better place to live?
I don’t.
I was challenged by the exclusionary tactics of the current freeholders and decided to run and provide the second opinion that keeps Morris County Government clean, creative and inclusive.
Probably the most important task facing us is trying to eliminate the spiral of ever rising property taxes. We believe that some voluntary sharing of services among municipalities is desirable. Advancing this goal requires some common ground and trust among municipalities as well as representation in Trenton for assistance and funding.
We need broad participation of citizens and towns. A one party county does not provide
this broad participation at home or in Trenton.