Scutari’s state Senate passes out patronage posts to passé politicians

State Senate President Nicholas ‘No-Show Nick’ Scutari presided over his first session of the New Jersey Legislature’s upper chamber in a meeting that lasted only about five minutes. Politico reporter Matt Friedman noted that the business was largely dedicated to awarding patronage jobs to former lawmakers.

confirmed former Sen. Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman as a member of the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors, former Sen. Dawn Addiego to be the Burlington County Superintendent of Elections, and former Assemblywoman Linda Stender as a member of the New Jersey Historic Trust.

Bateman’s part-time board post reportedly pays $82,000-per-year while Addiego replaces George Kotch in the full-time, $94,320-per-year post.

The 64-year-old Bateman did not seek re-election to a fifth term in the Senate, to which he was elected in 2007 following service in the State Assembly, as a Somerset County freeholder and as Branchburg mayor.

Democrat Andrew Zwicker was a South Brunswick assemblyman when he was elected to replace Bateman in the Senate last November.

Addiego switched parties in January 2019 after more than 25 years as a Republican, who elected offices included the Evesham council, Burlington County Freeholder Board, the State Assembly, and the State Senate.

Stender’s husband Richard crashed her political career by lying on applications to repair a beach home that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Richard Stender applied for charitable assistance to demolish the home after the hurricane, understating his family income in documents sent to Coastal Habitat for Humanity, which is intended to help low- and moderate-income homeowners.

The Stender submitted plans to the town of Manasquan to demolish the 640-square-foot bungalow and replace it with a luxury home that would have been three times the size of the original: a new 2,200 sq. ft., 3 1/2 bath home with two screened in porches and an elevator.

The luxury dwelling would have with featured five bedrooms, two outdoor decks, a wood-burning fireplace and outdoor shower with louvered ceilings, according to plans filed with the town.

The scandal forced the former congressional candidate to abandon plans to run for re-election to her $49,000 a year job in the Assembly, Stender remains employed at the Union County Improvement Authority, where she was hired earlier this year at a salary of $90,000.

At the beginning of Governor Phil Murphy’s first term, legislation sponsored by Scutari, who is also the Union County political boss, raised the salary by thousands of dollars for top government officials, including hundreds of other elected officials, judges, and prosecutors.

Some government officials got pay hikes up to $34,000 in May 2018, including members of the governor’s cabinet,who were political appointees hired at $141,000 a year in January 2018.

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