Six commissioners of New Jersey agency resign after disclosure of public corruption

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Nearly the entire Board at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission resigned on Wednesday and Thursday, two weeks after information was made public that the agency operated like a jobs bank for friends and relatives of the commissioners.

The PVSC is one of the largest water treatment systems in the nation and handles wastewater for 48 New Jersey communities in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Essex counties.

Those resigning under pressure of a deadline imposed by Gov. Chris Christie were PVSC chairman Anthony J. Luna, Angelina M. Paserchia, former mayor of Bellville, Frank J. Calandriello, currently mayor of Garfield, Carl S. Czaplicki, Thomas J. Powell and William F. Flyn.

Only one commissioner remains, Kenneth J. Lucianin,  an appointee of former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, who was asked to remain on the board.

On Tuesday, Christie suspended the six commissioners without pay saying they employed “unethical hiring practices, secured warranted perks and blatantly ignored conflicts of interest.” He turned over all operating authority in PVCS to executive director Wayne Forrest, until a new board could be assembled.

Christie said of the commission, “It’s the shadow government. They are off budget but spend billions of dollars of your money that they generate sometimes in taxes and sometimes through fees. This is a pox on both houses” he said, blaming members of the Senate, who he said “strong armed” previous governors into appointing “political hacks.”

Over the last year, four candidates have been nominated for open commission slots, and all four have been block by senators, for what observers call strictly political reasons.

An investigation by the Star-Ledger uncovered a system similar to an NFL draft, in which commissioners took turns handing out plum jobs to their wives, children, in-laws and those politically connected.

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