Nia H. Gill says she will challenge Nicholas “No-Show Nick” Scutari to become New Jersey’s next Senate President when the current legislative leader, Steve Sweeney, leaves office tomorrow, January 11, 2022.
The first new Senate President in twelve years will replace Sweeney, who was defeated by Republican truck driver Edward Durr in November and is a close ally of power broker George E. Norcross III.
Gill is a Black Democratic woman who has represented the 34th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Senate since 2002.
Scutari has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 2004, where he represents the 22nd Legislative District, which includes Linden, where he earned the moniker “No-Show Nick” after being fired as the city’s municipal prosecutor.
Scutari was a municipal prosecutor in Linden for 15 years before being fired in January 2019 after an investigation of his work found 167 days between 2014 and 2018 when he did not appear in court.
Scutari was a prosecutor in Linden for 15 years before an investigation found 167 “unapproved days” between 2014 and 2018 when he did not appear in court.
Linden paid $147,494 in salary, pension contributions and payroll taxes for Scutari on those days, according to a report from Gazaleh Consulting.
The municipal court and its prosecutor made headlines when individuals were convicted
That record of unapproved absenteeism was the last straw for Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, with whom “No-Show Nick” has had a rocky relationship.
Scutari’s alleged no-show job as Linden’s municipal prosecutor — first revealed in a 2019 audit — allowed him to collect years of pension credits for which he was ineligible and could expose him to potential criminal prosecution.
Scutari proposed legislation that would preempt municipal governing bodies from investigating their own members or former employees—such as “No-Show Nick”—limiting their investigations to current employees of the executive branch.
In November, “No-Show Nick” was nominated by Senate Democrats and GOP leaders said they had no intention of making a deal to put Gill in charge.
Sue Altman, director of New Jersey Working Families Alliance, and nine other progressive activists filed an ethics complaint with the state’s Joint Legislative Committee of Ethical Standards on June 29, slamming the lawmaker for holding a “no-show” job as the Linden municipal prosecutor.
John Wallace, a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, heads the ethical standards committee, which has not had a meeting since Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
“This accusation raises serious questions as to Senator Scutari’s ability to perform his taxpayer-funded employment and threatens to undermine the public’s trust in the Legislature,” the letter to the committee reads.