NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — With a complaint looming against its own attorney, the city’s ethics board is once again at capacity.
New Brunswick’s six-member ethics board had two longstanding vacancies that were filled last night, March 16, by residents who belong to the clergy. Mayor Jim Cahill appointed the men, a move that the City Council supported with a unanimous vote.
Rev. Francis Rella, a priest at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, has been tapped to fill an unexpired five-year term that ends on Dec. 31, 2020.
Br. Jude Lasota, a Catholic pastoral associate at St. Peter the Apostle University and Community Parish, is slated to assume an unexpired five-year term that ends on Dec. 31, 2019, according to the resolution.
In response to a question from a resident, Council President Glen Fleming praised both men for their service to their religious communities.
“Rev. Francis Rella has served in all branches of the military,” Fleming added, noting that the man was a nurse. “He has an exemplary record.”
Neither ethics board appointee is a registered Democrat, New Brunswick’s city attorney, T.K. Shamy, said. Municipal code allows for no more than three members of the ethics board to be from the same political party.
The newly-tweaked ethics board is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. March 20 in City Hall.
At that time, the board is expected to hear a complaint against its attorney, Anthony Vignuolo. The complaint, which was filed by Charlie Kratovil, the editor of the activist community newspaper New Brunswick Today, alleges Vignuolo violated state law and the city code of ethics last year by not filing a financial disclosure statement detailing his sources of income.
Vignuolo faced a similar charge before Middlesex County’s ethics board, of which he is also the attorney. The board voted yesterday to dismiss the complaint.
He won’t represent New Brunswick’s ethics board at its upcoming meeting, city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw said.*
Vignuolo hasn’t returned a message left at his office from TAPinto New Brunswick.
*An earlier version of this story stated William Hamilton Jr. would represent the ethics board at its meeting next week, which was incorrect. TAPinto New Brunswick misinterpreted an official notice for the meeting and regrets the error.