Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Freeholders Vow to Cooperate

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Freeholders Vow to Cooperate

Article excerpt

The three Republican freeholders fighting to save their seats this November from the Democratic grip on Passaic County are pitching bipartisan governing as a crucial check on loose spending and swollen debt that put them in office in the first place.

Over the past three years, they say, they have pushed back against borrowing millions for such things as pension costs and a solar power project. Yet they complain that, for the most part, the Democratic majority has given them little say when it comes to day- to-day decision making.

"They've left us out of the loop on purpose," said Freeholder Michael Marotta, who is running for a second three-year term. "It's a constant battle."

But Republican Freeholder Edward O'Connell said the slim Democratic majority was still better than having no opposing voice on the board: "If you get a 7-0 board, there's no more arguments."

The three Democratic challengers reject the notion that because they share the same party, they all think and will vote alike. And they argue that their opponents have done little in the way of budget tightening.

"I don't think the fiscal watchdog claim is borne out by their votes or what they set out to accomplish," said Democratic challenger John Bartlett, 40, an attorney from Wayne.

Marotta, O'Connell and Republican Deborah Ciambrone were elected after voter frustration over a number of costly ventures by the all- Democratic freeholder board, including the renovations at the Preakness Healthcare Center, the county-owned nursing home. Now, despite their incumbent status, they are again the underdogs on ballots topped with a Democratic president and a congressman who brought out an unprecedented number of Democrat voters for his June primary.

"Now we have to make up 25,000 votes," Marotta said of Rep. Bill Pascrell's energized voting base in such metro areas as Paterson.

John Traier, the county's new GOP chairman, said recently that the "challenge for us is to get Clifton going again."

If the Republican incumbents lose, the Freeholder Board will still have a self-described fiscal conservative among the Democratic victors. Hector Lora was elected to the Passaic City Council in May 2011 as an independent but changed his voting registration to Democrat this year. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.