Newark, NJ – On Tuesday, June 16th, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Essex County Inspector General Dominic Scaglione hosted an Ethics in Government Seminar featuring Paul J. Fishman, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Richard M. Frankel, Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The presentation was attended by Essex County Department and Division Directors, Constitutional Officers, representatives of County agencies and boards, and other key staff. It is part of the County Executive’s ongoing initiative to maintain high standards of integrity, accountability and fiscal responsibility in County government.

“We are very appreciative of U.S. Attorney Fishman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Frankel to take the time to address our County staff about ethics in government. Their message is a strong reminder of how important it is to serve with integrity and preserve the public’s trust in government,” DiVincenzo said. “We have accomplished a great deal over the last decade to enhance our residents’ quality of life and transform Essex County into a model government. We should never rest on our achievements and always must be vigilant to maintain our high standards,” he added.

Fishman was named U.S. Attorney for New Jersey in January 2010. Prior to his appointment, he was a partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP in Newark since 1997. From 1994 to 1997, Fishman worked in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice and spent 10 years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of New Jersey from 1983 to 1993. During his tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he worked in the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division, served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division/Chief of Narcotics, Chief of the Criminal Division and First Assistant. He coordinated Trenton’s Weed & Seed program, including helping to implement a Violent Offenders Removal Program and a Safe Haven program keeping schools open after hours for additional activities.

“There is always someone out there who is eager to do something under the table to get a contract or job. We have to be vigilant and look around for weaknesses in the system or in contracts so that others can’t take advantage of it,” Fishman said. “You always have to remember that you are the stewards of the public’s resources. You have an obligation to make sure the public benefits and not just you,” he noted.

Frankel was named Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division in February 2015. He most recently served as SAC of the Criminal Division in the New York Field Office.

Mr. Frankel began his career as a Special Agent in the FBI’s New York Field Office in 1995 and was assigned to the Gambino Family Organized Crime Squad. He has served in numerous positions in New York throughout his career, including as Assistant Special Agent in Charge, SAC of the Counterterrorism Division, and Associate Division Counsel. In 2011, he was named Associate Director of National Intelligence in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Frankel also served in the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters as a team leader.

Throughout his career, Mr. Frankel has served as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Afghanistan and led a team who supported U.S. Special Forces components. Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Frankel was an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, New York.

“If you think something is wrong, then most likely it is wrong. If you have the slightest question, ask someone first,” Frankel said. He also applied a slogan used to fight terrorism – “If you see something, say something” – as a tool to root our corruption.

The event was organized by the Essex County Inspector General’s Office. “Regular presentations such as this one are a wake-up call and reminder for all of us. The reputation of the County is the collective responsibility of all employees and can be protected very easily by all of us acting correctly,” Scaglione said.

Maintaining High Ethical Standards

When DiVincenzo took office, one of his immediate goals was to make sure County government was operating efficiently, effectively and ethically. One of his first actions as County Executive was to create the Office of the Inspector General to prevent and investigate all illegal, improper or unethical behavior involving the County.

The County Executive’s first Executive Order, dated February 23, 2003, expressed his commitment to good government by “ensuring the integrity and honesty of a non-political County government; ensuring the absence of corruption of any kind; ensuring the absence of even the appearance of impropriety; and restoring confidence in County government and raising the morale of its employees.”

DiVincenzo created the first functioning Board of Ethics in Essex County history, which created a comprehensive and stringent Code of Ethics for Essex County. Administrative personnel and key staff members have participated in a number of symposiums and seminars about ethics in government, including the Essex County Bar Association’s symposium in June 2004, an Ethics Seminar in October 2004, three seminars led by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie in 2005, 2006 and 2008, a seminar led by Seton Hall Professor and NJ State Ethics Commission Chairwoman Paula Franzese, presentations by Former Attorney General Stuart Rabner in 2006, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram in 2007, FBI Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun in 2009, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, First Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gilmore “Gil” Childers and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in 2010, NJ Comptroller Matthew Boxer in 2011, former NJ Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa in 2012 and Fishman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in 2014. In addition, key County personnel were required to complete a questionnaire about their associations with private businesses. The surveys were reviewed by the Inspector General to make sure conflicts of interest did not exist.