‘I want to know. We should all want to know’
Bill Introduced in Response to Settlement of Claims of Prosecutor’s Office Wrongdoing
(TRENTON) – Assembly Judiciary Chairman John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) discusses his legislation (A-4243) that would bar public entities from entering into confidential settlements of whistleblower lawsuits with public employees and mandate that such settlements are open public records.
McKeon first introduced the bill in response to the settlement reached with former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who testified on the bill during Monday’s hearing. Archived audio from today’s hearing is posted here, with Barlyn’s testimony beginning around the 20 minute mark.
Barlyn filed a lawsuit against the state in 2012 alleging he had been fired in 2010 after complaining to a superior that an indictment brought by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office had been dismissed by then Attorney General Paula Dow for political reasons.
In October 2016, it was reported that the lawsuit was settled for $1.3 million in August and that the state spent an additional $3 million on legal fees. Under terms of the settlement, the state denied any wrongdoing or liability in the matter.
The bill was released Monday by the Judiciary panel