New Jersey Business Leaders React To Latest Corruption Scandal [AUDIO]
Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, who's facing a host of federal corruption charges after being arrested earlier this week, is refusing to step down, much to the dismay of many public officials and business leaders.
John Galandak, the President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, says, "It's never good when the public trust is violated. In fact, not only is it not good, it's horrible…In order for business to thrive, you need a good working relationship, a good level of trust between those we elect to represent us…and those in the private sector."
He says the Trenton situation- while difficult - is not insurmountable.
"Look, in any profession you're going to have a certain percent of bad players, bad actors, and we just hope that these numbers are kept to a minimum…You would think lessons would be learned- and it wouldn't happen again for a long, long time, but people have short memories."
Galandak adds many businessmen and women serve in their communities in volunteer positions, so corruption has an effect on that.
"That's the kind of thing that gets discouraging and it might actually drive away some good people…But this certainly doesn't suggest that the scandal is beyond Trenton or that it's wide-spread - and New Jersey certainly doesn't have a monopoly on corruption. It's just a discouraging thing when it does occur, and it's just the kind of thing that puts a damper on people sticking their neck out a little bit more."
He also says for a city like Trenton, "that is trying to undergo this re-birth, that is struggling with its own budget problems - in terms of a reduction in police force- this is not a good thing by any means…It makes people think twice if there's a similar community nearby that doesn't have the scandal, the decision is probably going to that place that's less controversial."
Galandak says, unfortunately, this kind of shocking corruption case hurts the image of the Garden State from a business perspective.
"Gee, if this corruption is there and the cost of that corruption - certainly the cost of running that municipality, that County, that state - have got to be exacerbated…But on the bright side, if we're working hard to ferret it out, and we don't have a monopoly on corruption, at least people take some solace in the fact that ultimately those bad players will be found out and brought to justice."
He also stresses, "People should not be discouraged, New Jersey is a wonderful state in which to live, grow a business and raise a family, and everyone should remember an occasional corrupt situation, while abhorrent and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, is not an indictment on the whole state."