Take a Look Inside the Ocean County Blue Book and Why the FBI Wants It

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – This month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice signaled they are investigating the Ocean County Board of Commissioners’ hiring practices. The DOJ subpoenaed a treasure trove of human resources and employment documents from the Board of Commissioners as they sought to investigate possible pay-to-play, nepotism, and cronyism in county government.

In a nutshell, they think there’s something afoul in the commissioner’s hiring practices, possibly the doling out of public jobs for political favors, influence, and perhaps even cash.

One of the documents requested by the FBI during this investigation was the county commissioner’s “blue books”. Until recently, most of us had never heard of a blue book. Now, after Shore News Network filed an Open Public Records Act for those books, it has become clear why the FBI wants them.

An example blue book entry of Ocean County Commissioner Virginia E. Haines.

The blue books are logs of job requests made by the commissioners that detail how many people in government positions get their jobs because they know somebody.

Related: Toms River Mayor to Give $132,000 Public Job to Former Councilwoman Who Lost Election

Today, we received the blue books and they give an insight into how the sausage is made at the county government level. According to the blue book log dating back five years, the commissioners have tried to advocate for county administrators to give jobs to over 100 friends.

Most of those job requests came from Commissioners Jack Kelly and Joe Vicari between 2017 and 2019. It appears that the Board of Commissioners ceased publicly documenting job requests in 2019 as the blue book log entries simply end after a flurry of activity in those first three years of requested documents.

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The Ocean County Commissioners’ blue books read almost like a who’s who in Ocean County politics. Former mayors, councilmen, political campaign workers, advisors and relatives of political donors made the list.

You can see the full blue book requested by the FBI below.

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