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Murphy will continue council term

July 20, 2005

Mark R. Madler

City Councilwoman Stacey Murphy apologized Tuesday for the

distraction to the city caused by her arrest last week on drug and

child endangerment charges.

In a statement read at Tuesday's council meeting, Murphy said she

would be absent from the meetings until her Aug. 25 initial court

appearance but did intend to fulfill the job she was elected to do.

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"I plan on continuing throughout my entire term," Murphy said in

the statement.

Murphy, 47, and boyfriend Scott Schaffer were arrested July 13

following an investigation by federal, state and local police

agencies into the Vineland Boyz street gang.

Schaffer is alleged to have traded handguns on at least two

occasions with members of the Vineland Boyz in exchange for cocaine,

police said.

Murphy was arrested at her home on Lima Street for suspicion of

possession of cocaine after the drug was found in her bedroom and

child endangerment for having three handguns and 900 rounds of

ammunition in her garage. The mother of three, including a

12-year-old still living at home, is free after posting $100,000 bond

on Thursday.

How Murphy handles her appearances at the council meetings is up

to her, Mayor Jef Vander Borght said.

For most of the items the council votes on, it may not matter that

she is missing for the next month, he said.

"When you have those contentious and difficult issues that come

up, that is when we will miss having that fifth person," Vander

Borght said.

Councilman Dave Golonski had no comment on Murphy's statement but

said that the council should be able to function fine with just four

members.

In her statement, Murphy apologized to her children for subjecting

them to the press coverage resulting from her arrest.

"To the many friends that have called to offer me their love,

support and prayers, I truly thank them," Murphy said in the

statement.

Re-elected to her third term in February, the out-spoken Murphy

was never shy about speaking her mind on tough issues facing the city

or in voting the opposite of her council colleagues.

"We are really devastated and shocked," said Barry Burnett, a

friend of Murphy's. "It seems out of character for her."

Charlie Lombardo, the campaign manager for Murphy's first two runs

for a council seat, called Murphy a good mother and one of the most

integrity-oriented people he knows.

"The person who is accused isn't the Stacey that I know," Lombardo

said. "I'm very supportive and will help her out anyway I can during

this ordeal."

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