In response to recent articles published by the Franklin Reporter and Advocate and NJ.com, which reported that Somerset County Democratic Committee (SCDC) county-wide candidate for sheriff Darrin Russo logged 273 hours of union time from the start of 2016 through his retirement in June, Republican Sheriff candidate, Chief Bill Parenti called on his opponent to immediately re-pay Franklin Township and taxpayers for his blatant fiscal abuse of their money.

“My opponent should immediately pay back Franklin Township, and in turn, its taxpayers for the abuse of their trust and his 273 union time hours,” said Parenti. “Once again, I am stunned that that my opponent refuses to do the right thing by taxpayers. Leadership starts at the top, and as shown through his tenure in Franklin Township, my opponent is an expert at exploiting taxpayers.”

According to an Advance Media report, Russo and his colleagues’ lack of concern for taxpayers and fiscal stewardship cost Franklin Township and its taxpayers at least $470,000 since 2016. The alleged abuse of union time was exposed by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in June, when they assumed leadership of the Franklin Township Police Department.  

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Parenti also noted that his opponent retired in June of 2016, meaning that his hours were taken over the course of a six month period.

“At a time when municipal budgets and taxpayers are so squeezed, Darrin’s choice to manipulate a policy to his financial benefit speaks volumes. His actions display his lack of leadership qualities  and lack of qualifications to serve as sheriff. At a time when morale and public trust in law enforcement within the community is diminishing, my opponent has chosen to pour gas on the fire. I look forward to the conclusion of the Prosecutor’s investigation so we can gather an understanding of how badly my opponent has abused taxpayers,” Parenti said.