Things Just Got Very Real (Again) in Bergen County

This afternoon, Freeholders Maura DeNicola and Robert Hermansen called an atypical presser at the Bergen County Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah.

The topic? What they’ve graphically described as “a disgusting abuse of power on behalf of political bosses of Bergen County” (h/t NJ.com):

Distributing emails between board Chairman John Mitchell, various attorneys and a Pennsylvania-based political consultant, the two freeholders said they were deliberately kept in the dark by members of their own party as they developed the wording of a public referendum on police consolidation, a controversial issue and the subject of a series of public hearings earlier this summer.

The freeholders are scheduled to consider two measures — one which would approve a ballot question on the matter for the November election and another that would immediately bring the county police under the control of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office — at a special meeting on Friday.

In the e-mails, Mitchell and the others discussed the particular wording of the proposed ballot question. Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin and Sheriff’s Department Attorney John McCann were copied on the discussion, but did not participate, but Hermansen and DeNicola accused Yudin of exercising undue influence on the process.

“I can’t help it if I get a lot of emails,” Yudin told NJ.com, adding that he “had been privy to some of those conversations” about police consolidation because he’s been a public supporter of such a move since 2006.”

After the press conference, Chairman Yudin told PolitickerNj.com that he never responded to the emails; moreover, he expressed disbelief at what he characterized as DeNicola, Hermansen and County Executive Kathe Donovan’s opposition to saving money. Freeholder DeNicola previously articulated her position on the county policy consolidation ballot question right here at Save Jersey.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Save Jerseyans, I think many voters will treat this important debate as anything other than the latest, ugly extension of the seemingly never-ending GOP civil war that has ravaged Bergen’s Republican Party.

Charlie Stile recently blamed a lack of leadership from Governor Christie for the conflagration. I understand his point, but the Bergen GOP’s leaders, politicians and local warlords were at each other’s throats long before 2009. My opinion? The County Committee members have no one but themselves to blame at the end of the day. They re-elected Bob Yudin to another term in the worst way possible – via a long, drawn-out battle that took many weeks, two ballots, and resulted in more hard feeling than before the process got underway.

If you think Yudin was the wrong choice, then the County Committee committed a compound sin. If you think Yudin is the right man, then why hasn’t he made any progress whatsoever towards uniting the party? Though, in all fairness, the same could be said for the opposing faction that unsuccessfully rallied around Anthony Rottino’s candidacy.

Get it together, Bergen GOP! November is coming…

 

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