By Monmouth Watchdog
Assembly bill A-2690, which expands the list of law enforcement personnel eligible to carry a handgun in their retirement years—including campus police-- was signed into law on July 13, 2017, by Governor Chris Christie. The Bill, was co-sponsored by Republican Assemblyman, Declan O’Scanlon, (LD-13).
Former Governor and state Senator Richard Codey (D-Essex), who previously voted down the bill in the Senate, was quoted as saying, “When, during the performance of duty, did they have to use a gun? Rarely, if ever…it just expands the number of people who are out there with guns, and that never ends up to anything good.”
On November 21, 2016, O’Scanlon voted “NO” on Bill A-1411. The bill sponsored by Gordon Johnson, a former Bergen County Sheriff, provides employment protections for campus police officers, protecting them from any removal actions for “political reasons,” or for any other cause other than incapacity, misconduct, or disobedience of rules and regulations. Without this safeguard in place, political leaders, and high ranking campus officials, getting stopped for motor vehicle offenses—or even criminal matters, will demand—and unfortunately receive— preferential treatment not afforded the general public.
Why would Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon want it any other way?
O’Scanlon’s vote would condone (had it passed) political retribution against campus police officers by demoting , re-assigning and possibly removing them from active service. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority members in the Assembly had the integrity and fortitude to pass the Bill by 58-11. This sends a resonating loud and clear signal to their own: Intimidation and/or manipulation of law enforcement actions by New Jersey's campus police will not be tolerated!
The bill is currently in the hands of a Senate Committee awaiting further deliberation, before being forwarded to the full Senate for consideration.
Let’s not forget another slap to the face to another group of law enforcement professionals—our state’s correction officers. The state Assembly on February 13, 2017, -- joining its Senate partner in a similar bill-- overwhelmingly approved bill A-3422 by a vote of 62-4, creating a compensation program for correction officers assaulted by prisoners in their care, custody and control.
LD-13 Assemblyman, Declan O'Scanlon, (R-Monmouth), a staunch Christie ally, and member of Christie’s now defunct and dismantled Presidential Leadership Team, was one of just four (4) Assembly members that incredulously voted against the measure protecting state correction officers from financial ruin, hurt on the job, and reliant on a salary that is a fraction of their normal rate of pay.
Assemblyman O’Scanlon blasting Codey as “ignorant” was certainly uncalled for. Perhaps it was done as political payback for Codey’s plan to draft a bill requiring cell towers be located a safe distance of at least 2500 feet from schools? Codey’s plans are a direct result of the controversy currently taking place in O’Scanlon’s hometown of Little Silver, regarding the erection of a Verizon cell tower.
A grass roots effort is currently underway to remove and re-locate a Verizon cell tower that casts a shadow on a nearby elementary school.
Mr. O’Scanlon is the owner and operator of FSD Enterprises, of Red Bank, a consulting firm which contracts with municipalities and other entities negotiating with cell tower giants—such as Verizon— regarding locations, permits, rental agreements, and other details associated with cell towers. FSD is compensated by municipalities with retainer agreements along with specified percentages up to 35% of the first year’s rental income generated by the tenants placing their equipment on those poles.
In Holmdel--one of several towns in Monmouth County that FSD does business with-- FSD billed the Township for its cut on March 15, 2016, for 35% of $35,004.00 rental income derived from the Verizon Crown Castle site. That amount plus the $3000.00 "one-time payment," resulted in a payout of $13,301.40 for FSD Enterprises.
Holmdel in their January 2017 Re-Organization Minutes named Mr. O'Scanlon as their "cell tower consultant."
Verizon in keeping with their full disclosure policy regarding campaign contributions to candidates and/or their committees, reported giving Assemblyman O'Scanlon over $11,000.00 dollars in campaign contributions since 2008. Running mate Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, was not the recipient of Verizon's campaign generosity.
Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon certainly has a tough task in front of him in his quest to become state Senator. He is running against Democrat Sean Byrnes from LD-13's largest municipality: Middletown. Mr Byrnes is a former Democratic committeeman, a veteran with the United States Coast Guard, and an attorney.
O'Scanlon resides in Little Silver, and before becoming an Assemblyman, he was a long-time council member. His record on public safety issues has certainly been controversial--especially child safety concerns. O'Scanlon has voted for the very unpopular, and much criticized 23-cent a gallon gas tax. Issues which will undoubtedly be brought to the forefront during this most watched and crucial campaign.
The above article is an opinion of the MonmouthWatchdog.