City Commits to Considering Pay-to-Play

BAYONNE- After repeated written attempts to contact the City, Michael Embrich, founder of the Bayonne Center for Progress, approached the Bayonne City Council at their February meeting to request in person that they consider pay-to-play legislation, which Council President Sharon Nadrowski agreed to do.

In September of 2018, Embrich called for pay-to-play legislation, essentially banning political donors from landing City contracts. Back in September, a Bayonne spokesperson said the City’s law department was “reviewing the matter.” In February, the City Council finally agreed to consider the reforms.

“I think it is a great victory for the citizens of the City of Bayonne. Donors shouldn’t have more political clout than taxpayers, and addressing pay-to-play scenarios would help alleviate the overwhelming tax burden we see in the City,” said Embrich. “I commend City Council President Sharon Nadrowski for acknowledging that there is a problem, and I welcome the opportunity to help implement pay-to-play and other ethics reforms,” Embrich added.

When asked what the next steps would be for the Bayonne Center for Progress, Embrich said, “Our work is far from done. We must make sure the City Council takes real steps to fix our broken political system. We’re going to see pay-to-play legislation through to completion and fight for other ethics reforms such as term limits for the mayor’s office and the creation of community boards, so Bayonne residents can have a say in what gets built in their neighborhoods. The Bayonne Center for Progress will continue to fight to make our government better, fairer, and more accountable to taxpayers.”  

What is pay-to-play legislation?

What is pay-to-play legislation?

Every state and city, directly or indirectly, prohibits bribery in
obtaining government contracts. But few towns or cities restrict
campaign contributions from businesses seeking government contracts.
Pay-to-play addresses just that: developers or vendors who give political
contributions to elected officials to garner special
consideration or influence in acquiring a government contract and other perks.

Why is this bad for taxpayers?

There are many reasons why a lack of pay-to-play laws is detrimental
to healthy government and hurts taxpayers. Here are the two main

1) Pay-to-play subverts the open and fair bidding process by
steering government contracts to more connected, and sometimes more expensive, vendors
and businesses, passing that financial burden to taxpayers.

2) Lack of pay-to-play laws hurts local small businesses, as they
cannot afford to pay, even if they can perform the job. Pay-to-play
contracts often go to out of town firms. We are currently conducting
research to see what percentage of Bayonne vendors receive contracts vs
out-of-town vendors.

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