After Hypocritically Calling for Franklin Police to Give up Community Policing Pay, Parenti Rakes in Six Figures for Not Going on Vacation or Calling in Sick
Republican Sheriff Candidate Bill Parenti has seen his North Plainfield taxpayer funded compensation almost double in the past two years, rising from around $150K to $290K from 2016 to 2018. However, according to the Uniform Crime Statistics provided by the North Plainfield Police Department to the NJ State Police, the town Parenti “protects” continues to have the highest rate of violent crime in the county.
“Parenti loves to talk about taxpayer rip-offs, but for some reason he’s silent about the one he’s involved in,” said Darrin Russo. “Over two years he extracted $270,000 in extra pay out of the people of North Plainfield, failed to do his job of protecting them from violent crime, and now he wants to be promoted to Sheriff? For what?”
In 2016 Bill Parenti was paid $153,388.46 as Police Chief in North Plainfield, yet took $285,506.36 in 2017 and $288,768.56 in 2018 for the same job, almost $270,000 more than his contracted pay. 2019 pay records are not available, so the numbers could rise to close to $400,000 if the trend continued. Parenti appears to have demanded the extra vacation and sick day payments because he was preparing for retirement, and wanted to cash out early.
“Parenti has called for me and other Franklin officers to return pay we earned doing community policing above our regular duties, pay that was approved by Parenti’s own advisor Chief Larry Roberts and cleared by the county prosecutor,” said Russo. “But Parenti is literally taking money for days he didn’t work. If he’s serious about his claims against me, Parenti needs to give the taxpayers of North Plainfield their quarter million dollars back. If he doesn’t, he’s just another political hypocrite.”
Instead of spending his time focused on North Plainfield while taking retirement and regular pay simultaneously, Parenti also spent 2016-2019 as President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, and in 2017 started building his campaign for Somerset County Sheriff. His lack of focus on the job he was paid to do twice has cost the security and safety of the people of North Plainfield he was sworn to serve.
“When I decided to run for Sheriff in 2016, I retired with honor as a police officer because I believe the citizens deserve police who are focused on them and not their next job,” said Russo. “With one foot out the door, Parenti took hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement pay, kept cashing checks for his regular pay, and is spending dozens of work hours every week campaigning while the people of North Plainfield see both their taxes and crime rates rise. How can he justify this?”
Parenti has hung his campaign on a debunked attack on the contract under which police officers in Franklin are paid, calling it a “rip-off”. However, not only are the amounts negligible when compared to Parenti’s $270,000 rip-off, but the contract was approved and overseen by Parenti supporters and advisors. Republican Freeholder Director Brian Levine was Franklin Mayor when the contract was signed, and Police Chief Larry Roberts approved every time-card Parenti has attacked.
In September the Somerset County Prosecutor debunked Parenti’s allegations in a letter, stating that there were no “violations by any individual officer” including Darrin Russo, and that any misdeeds were done by Parenti’s so called “undersheriff” Roberts. Yet Parenti recently spent $25,000 on television commercials repeating the same lies. That letter from the Prosecutor’s office is attached.
“Parenti’s quarter million-dollar money grab with one foot out the door is the height of hypocrisy given his bashing of police officers in Franklin for their community policing pay,” said Peg Schaffer, Somerset County Democratic Chair. “The last thing you want in a top law enforcement official is one willing to accuse other people of his own wrongdoing.”
For more information:
- Uniform Crime Statistics provided by the NJ State Police show North Plainfield’s violent crime rate since Bill Parenti became Chief in 2004 until 2016 to be 2.67 per thousand residents. No other town is above 1.85 per thousand residents. https://www.njsp.org/ucr/crime-reports.shtml
- North Plainfield’s violent crime rate under Chief Parenti is 70% higher than the next highest town and 350% higher than the Somerset County average of .075 per thousand residents. https://www.njsp.org/ucr/crime-reports.shtml