Category Archives: Sam Thompson

Assemblyman Thomspon’s Attempt At A Smackdown Results In A Returned Jab

Below is an email exchange that was sent to me, between 13th District Assemblyman Republican Sam Thompson and former Independent Candidate Sean Dunne.

Dunne ran as an Independent for the State Assembly this year and took exception with how Thompson presented himself during interviews with the Asbury Park Press and the local Independent and the subsequent endorsements by those papers of Sam Thompson and his running mate Amy Handlin.
Mr. Dunne wrote a scathing letter to the Asbury Park Press (which I posted) that addressed their overtly biased favortism for Mr. Thompson’s candidacy in the 13th District. The letter went on to say how Thompson supported the construction and delpoyment of Liquid Natural Gass (LNG) terminals along the bayshore and how one of Thompson’s secrataries, Lucille Panos, is a classic pension fund double dipper.

Mrs. Panos is an elected Councilwoman in Old Bridge who earns a $6,000 stipen for that position and as a member of Sam Thompson’s staff earns another $27,500 a year towards her State pension.
On a personal note, it is also an affirmation of this blog’s influence and readership. The MiddeltownMike blog was the only place that Mr. Dunne’s letter was published.
I feel that the email is very telling, it show the level of entitlement in which Sam Thompson feels is owed to him as an assemblyman:
November 7, 2009

Dear Mr. Dunn:

A blog that you had posted and a flyer that you had distributed in the campaign has been brought to my attention.

Sir, if you choose to attack in any way, that is your prerogative and I rarely bother with responding to opponents’ distortions relative to myself. However, I will not tolerate statements that print distorted pictures of my employees in and attempt to take a shot at me.

Your inferences with regards to Lucille Panos are totally unjustified and border on defamatory.

It is true Lucille Panos is employed by my office, but at a rate of $27,500. She is not employed for “Special Services.” I assume you use this term to suggest this may be a no show job. Ms. Panos is one of three Legislative Aides employed by my office as well as one full-time unpaid, volunteer aide. She is a full-time employee and you will find her in my office from 9-5 Monday thru Friday, the same as all State employees. She is not entitled to “Special Projects.” Nor is anyone else in this office. Instead, she and all staff members devote all of their time to providing constituent services, responding to correspondence, telephone calls and working one-on-one with constituents to resolve their problems which run the gamut of homestead rebates, property tax freeze, enrollment in prescription drug plans, ascertaining the most suitable Medicare Part D plan, resolving disputes with healthcare plans, assistance with utilities, etc.

Ms. Panos, as well as al of my staff members, do an outstanding job of providing all of these services, far and above the level you will find in any other legislative office in the State.

As for her salary, it is actually $27,500 not $29,500. As none of my employees had received any raise for several years due to unavailability of funds, this year I was able to persuade leadership to provide and additional $5,000 on a one time basis to distribute to my staff but this did not increase their base salary and there is no guarantee that I will be able to get it again next year.

As you had this information, you obviously have access to the State payroll data, probably from the APP web-site. If you will check it further, you will find she is the lowest paid of my threes employees – not because of the quality of her work but simply because she was hired years after the other two and that was all the salary funds I had left. I assure you, her performance merits a much higher pay. If you go further and compare her salary with that of staffers in other legislative offices, I have no doubt it will be among the lowest.

As for the “handsome pension” at taxpayer expense that she is in line for, if she continued in government employment until she reached 27 ½ years of service her $29,500” State salary plus her gigantic $6,000 council stipend would entitle her to a “handsome” pension of $17, 750/year. WOW!

Should you doubt the above statements about her work, we do have a database some 17,000 constituents we have serviced one–on–one. Further, I would be delighted to take you to any of several locations where you can wander around on your own and inquire relative to the quality of the services of Lucille Panos and my office. If interested, let me know.

You owe Ms. Panos an apology.

Sam Thompson

Dunne’s reply:

Dear Sam,

I do not know of the blog you are referring to, as I don’t run a blog. My campaign did include a website and a Facebook profile, but we didn’t use a blog. However, perhaps someone has taken information I have sent out and published it on their own blog.

Just to be clear, I have no doubt your office fills out forms and provides other advice to consituents. NJ runs confused government services that many people are very frustrated with. Many taxpayers want this improved, because accessible services are the least they should get for their money. Instead, we have offices like yours that have three full-time employees that must decipher forms for people. This is very symbolic of New Jersey fiscal policy. Why save money and make government services easy to access, when we can instead pay three full-time people in one District office to translate the confusion?

As for the other information that you discuss in your email to me. I would suggest you examine the Data Universe section of the Asbury Park Press site. If you feel that the information is a distortion, you should immediately contact them. Go to the section and conduct a search for Lucille Panos.


It states the following:
PANOS, LUCILLE THE LEGISLATURE LEGISLATIVE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS, STAFF SERVICES SPECIAL SERVICES $0.00 $0.00 $29,500.00

This does not appear to include the bonus you obtained for her, as it refers only the year 2008, so as you said, her earnings from your office are actually $32,500. If you do not like the work she provides for your office to be defined as “Special Services”, then I would once again advise you to contact the Asbury Park Press. Perhaps you feel that readers of the website will think that the title, “Special Services”, implies a no-show job. If so, you might be able to persuade them to change that label.

I do not follow your claim regarding Lucille Panos and Special Projects, so I am unable to comment on it. I don’t even understand what “Special Projects” are. I can only say that I have never mentioned anything regarding “Special Projects”.

You have made it clear in your email that you would like Panos to have a much higher pension, as you want to increase her salary even more. I’ll therefore wait, along with other taxpayers, to see how handsome her pension might become.

Your claim that I make distortions regarding your own positions is totally false, and I consider that an insult. You stated in our meeting with the Asbury Park Press that you have no problem receiving nearly $50,000 a year. You also called yourself a full-time legislator in the Independent. I wish this were a distortion, but unfortunately for taxpayers, it is not. I cannot think of one other area of employment where someone would say with a straight face that they deserve a full-time salary for a part-time job because they consider their work a full-time job. But again, this is New Jersey.

You told me twice that you supported the construction of Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals off the Jersey Coast. First at Hazlet Day, and second at the meeting with the Asbury Park Press when others were present. Again, I wish this were a distortion, but unfortunately it is not. I hope you reconsider this position on this project, because it is a terrible plan.

To claim that I distort your positions on any of the above is an outright lie, and you now owe me an explanation.

I do not take lightly an accusation that I lie, which is why I immediately responded to your unfounded claims. It’s amazing that providing information to voters is considered an “attack”, but I guess that’s one more part of the problem in New Jersey politics.

I have no doubt that you could take me to places where people are pleased with the services your office has provided. I’d be more than happy to take the tour you suggest, as I am always eager to learn. However, this should be a two-stop tour. First, we’ll have a meeting with people your office has helped. Second, we’ll meet with taxpayers that I’ve met who are absolutely sick of this kind of politics. I’m sure we both could learn something from that tour.

I look forward to hearing your explanation of how I have distorted anything about your positions or political beliefs. When you realize that your claim is unfounded, you can then issue your apology.

Yours sincerely,
Sean Dunne

3 Comments

Filed under Asbury Park Press, Sam Thompson, Sean Dunne, state pension system, the Independent

13th District Assembly Race Up For Grabs; Poll Shows Brown Up On Thompson, Within Striking Distance of Handlin

It seems as though an upset is in the making in the 13th legislative district, according to a recent poll.

According to this poll, Democratic challenger Robert “Bob” Brown, has opened a commanding lead over Republican incumbent Sam Thompson and it has the Thompson/Handlin campaign scrambling for last minute cash to flood mailboxes throughout the district with campaign literature. Thompson/Handlin campaign signs have also been flooding the area within the past 24 hours since the results of the poll has been know to the campaign.

Both men, Brown and Thompson reside in Middlessex’s Old Bridge Township, and it is in Old Bridge where Thompson has lost a significant portion of his base to Bob Brown.

Brown in the mean time, has also been polling very strong throughout the rest of the district, thanks inpart to two major endorsments by the Newark Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine and NJ 101.5 Morning Show host Jim Gearhart:

Paul Mulshine said…. “Bob Brown is the sole democrat worth a damn in this state…..” (October 19, 2009)

Jim Gearhart added “I endorse Bob Brown completely” (Oct. 22,2009)
Thanks to these endorsements Brown is also within striking distance of the other incumbant in the race, Amy Handlin. And what makes this poll even more eye opening is that Brown’s coattails seem to be extending towards his running mate Jim Grenafege, who is also within striking distance of Thompson.
You can learn more about both Bob Brown and Jim Grenafege by watching their campaign video’s (below) or by logging onto their website assembly13.org

Leave a comment

Filed under 13th Assembly District, Bob Brown, Democratic Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth County, opinion poll, Paul Mulshine, Republican Candidate, Sam Thompson

Sean Dunne, Independent Candidate for NJ State Assembly District 13, Answers 10 Questions

Sean Dunne is the Independent Candidate for the NJ State Assembly District 13, and since he reached out to me a few weeks ago, I decided to send him a copy of the 10 questions that I had written and sent to other State Assembly candidates from Monmouth County.
I thought that it would be interesting to hear what he had to say and see if his answers would differ much from the other respondents once their questionnaire’s were returned.
The one response that I found interesting was his answer to question 4. Sam Thompson and Amy Handlin have received the endorsement from the environmental group, The Sierra Club eventhough Sam Thompson supports Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminals off the coast of Monmouth County and Amy Handlin had no position on it because she didn’t have a clue about it!
Sean Dunne opposes these terminals as does his Democratic oppennents Jim Grenafege and Bob Brown.

Since Sean was the second to respond, so he gets his answers published today:

1. What is your motivation for seeking a seat in the NJ State Assembly and can you tell us a little about yourself?


I was first interested in volunteering for someone else’s campaign, but I did not find any Independent candidates in the District. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I could dedicate enough time and recruit enough volunteers to launch my own campaign.

I grew up in the area. I graduated from Holmdel High School, and I went on to attend James Madison University in Virginia. After graduation, I moved to Ireland where I lived for approximately ten years. I was involved in postgraduate studies, college lecturing and Irish agriculture. I obtained a Master’s Degree in Sociology at University College Dublin, and a PhD in Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. I was also involved in the running of a family farm, which I was able to integrate into the European Union’s Rural Environmental Protection Scheme. I moved back to New Jersey last year.

2. As you meet residents throughout your district what seems to be the greatest concerns they are expressing and how do you plan to address them?


Property tax is a major concern. This needs to be addressed by implementing the necessary laws to reduce the very costly corruption problem in the state, and by cutting through the entrenched waste that taxpayers have to fund each year.

3. What do you hope to accomplish once you are elected to the State Assembly?

I want to put forward many of the “common sense” bills that many people want implemented. Both parties have refused to do this, and it’s time we get an Independent candidate in the Assembly to force the parties to take action or to admit they simply will not. If they take no action, then the voters will know who to vote out in the next elections.

4. What is it that makes your district unique and how does that uniqueness impact your campaign?

If District 13 does not help to protect the Jersey Shore, who will? We need to oppose the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals proposed off the Jersey coastline. The Democratic candidates also oppose them, but Sam Thompson supports them, and Amy Handlin has stated that she “is still looking into them”.

5. If elected, how would your professional background enhance your ability to be an effective State Assembly representative?

I would draw upon my experience in Irish politics to suggest alternatives to certain practices that exist in government here. I also aim to incorporate insights from my own studies (environmental sociology) to policies that I would like to suggest here in New Jersey.

6. Do you have any thoughts on how to contain the growth of state government?


We need to break down the superfluous hierarchies found in areas that range from education to policing. This is critical. We need to abandon the placement of high-ranking officials in every area of government in every small town in New Jersey.

7. Is there any aspect of state government that you believe there is a need to be expanded upon?


The number one priority is cutting back various agencies of state government. This must be done first, as New Jersey simply cannot afford any more growth of state government. After this is done, we can examine areas that might need further aid.

8. Why should residents of your district trust you to represent them in the legislature ?


I am not involved in a political party that has had other members brought to prison for corrupt politics. Both Democrats and Republicans have. My campaign has received no donation of over $250 from anyone other than myself. I therefore answer only to my supporters, which lets me sleep well every night.

9. Why do you identify yourself as an Independent as opposed to a Republican or Democrat?


I’m an Independent because I feel that both parties haven’t done enough, and I feel the current electoral system is undemocratic. Both established parties benefit from their duopoly, and this needs to be attacked at its very base.

10. Is there anything that is important to you that I hasn’t been asked, that you would like to address?

-We need to cut salaries and benefits for this position. It is a part-time job that pays $48,000 a year with benefits. I’d slash the benefits and reduce the pay to $35,000 a year.
-We need mandatory minimum sentences for corrupt politicians and we need term limits.
-We need to review all of the undemocratic policies and structures that both Republicans and Democrats enforce that keep smaller parties and Independents out of office.

To learn more about Sean Dunne visit his website @ www.votedunne.org

Leave a comment

Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Bob Brown, Holmdel NJ, Independent Candidate, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth County, Sam Thompson, Sean Dunne

Campaign Video For Bob Brown, Candidate for Assembly Dsitrict 13, Is On The Web

Democratic candidate for State Assembly, Robert “Bob” Brown, is an attorney and retired Old Bridge police officer who was wounded in the line of duty. He is running in the 13th district against Republican incumbents Sam Thompson and Amy Handlin.

He has a short biographical campaign video that has recently been posted on the web, you can watch it below:

To learn more about Bob Brown and his runningmate, Middletown’s Jim Grenafege, and the issues that they will be fighting for check out their website www.assembly13.org

Leave a comment

Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Bob Brown, campaign video, Old Bridge NJ, Sam Thompson