Legal Notices Debate Rages On

Legal Notices Debate Rages On

03/7/2011

While a good week is seemingly non-existent for the newspaper industry nowadays, last week was particularly hard for the Gannett New Jersey family.

Pink slips were given by the Courier-Post to one part-timer and three full-time employees.

By the end of the week, almost half of the staff of three Gannett sister papers – the Daily Record of Parsippany, the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, and the Courier News of Bridgewater – were terminated from their jobs.

With the present dire situation, it is not hard to imagine what would happen if the bill, which allows New Jersey governments to bypass newspapers in posting legal notices, is passed.

The publisher of Newark Star-Ledger, Richard Vezza, in a testimony before the Assembly Commerce Committee stated that politicians would be tempted to use ad dollars to intimidate or entice struggling newspapers.

Vezza said, “You’re gonna vote this bill into law, you’re going to put some newspapers out of business. You are going to cost a number of jobs.” He also added, “And at the end, what you’re looking for are a bunch of lapdogs that you can control and not a bunch of watchdogs.”

The only member of the panel who agreed with Mr. Vezza was Domenick DiCicco, a Republican from Gloucester.

DiCicco said, “If there’s one thing we don’t need its less transparency.”

The bill was advanced by the committee Thursday over the lone objection of DiCicco. It is not yet known if Governor Chris Christie will sign the bill into law.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com