Mayor Soriano has made a dangerous habit of using our local government to reward his political and personal friends. Throughout the past two years of his administration, we have seen unqualified people occupy well-paid jobs that are in many cases unnecessary and a sharp increase in the number of contracts being issued to political allies. In fact, just this past Tuesday, Soriano attempted to force through the approval of a well-connected Democratic public relations firm which has visible ties to him and his political circle.
Direct Development LLC, the company in question, is run by a powerful Democratic State Senator who has not only voiced his support of the Mayor vocally in the past but has attended many fundraisers in his support. However, this is not the only connection that has surfaced after a brief investigation into the company. Soriano’s Chief of Staff, Matt Clarkin, currently sits on the board of a PAC that is chaired by the company’s Business Development Manager, further calling into question the legitimacy of Soriano’s intentions. Even if Soriano truly believes this is the right decision, there is still a significant conflict of interest that he has not addressed. This mindset that seems to run rampant in his Administration, has reduced the once proud Parsippany into a Democratic patronage pit.
Another issue with his request is that the Administration already currently employs a Public Information Officer. This individual is responsible for ensuring that residents are informed on events in the Township, improving our public image, and to serve as a webmaster for the website which has been almost universally critically panned. His job performance has been criticized by many on social media, with one resident even going so far as to publicly blast him in a letter to the editor in Parsippany Focus. Regardless of this, his responsibilities would directly overlap and conflict with what Soriano has described as the nature of DD’s hire. Not only this, but Soriano insists that hiring DD is necessary to boost the struggling public perception of our Township. If hiring a PR firm is a step that the Township must take, then I suggest that we remove the position of Public Information Officer and solicit a firm that can do what the Mayor describes we need, with a fair and open process, thereby removing the taint of his obvious conflict of interest