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Teleconference Set on Ethics Violations

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By Shay Roddy

WEST WILDWOOD – Mayor Christopher Fox will have a telephone status conference March 11 on nearly $25,000 in ethics violations, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law said.
Fox has requested a hearing on the fines, which he called “ridiculous.”
The local finance board issued Fox a letter, in April 2019, with 22 pages detailing numerous violations surrounding the mayor’s handling of the current Police Chief Jacquelyn Ferentz and the appointment of his daughter to the borough’s police department.
Wildwood dismissed Fox from his administrator position with the city after the violations came out, but Fox has refused to resign from his position as West Wildwood mayor.
Ferentz, who lives with Fox, had been fired from the police department by the previous West Wildwood mayor, but was then reinstated to the department after Fox won his seat, in the November 2012 election.
Ferentz sued the borough for wrongful termination and was eventually awarded a $1.7-million payout in a jury decision. 
The Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), which normally pays the fine, successfully argued in court that it should not have to pay Ferentz.
JIF evoked a “cooperation clause,” which ensures the borough is committed to fighting the case, arguing that West Wildwood did not adequately defend itself, according to a Superior Court of New Jersey appellate decision. 
With the borough forced to pay Ferentz for years in $5,000 monthly installments – out of its less than $3 million annual budget – tensions are high between taxpayers and commissioners. The tension has come to a head at raucous public meetings, where questions were shouted at Fox and commissioners. 
The 3 p.m. teleconference will not be open to the public or reporters. The New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, which has been handling the case since Fox’s appeal said no other dates are presently scheduled.

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