Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Bergen County

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

For Bergen County

Article excerpt

REPUBLICAN control of the Bergen County Freeholder Board is at stake in Tuesday's election, but things are not as simple as they seem. Republicans may have a 5-2 majority on the board, but that hardly means county government moves in unison under a GOP banner. The party is split over a number of issues, including the powers of County Executive Kathleen Donovan, a fellow Republican, reforming campaign finance law and abolishing the county police.

That division, which has filtered down to the two Republicans running for freeholder, is likely fueling Democratic hopes that they can win two seats and take political control of the board with a 4- 3 majority. Another reason for Democratic optimism is party registration. Bergen has about 54,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, a solid advantage that can be more pertinent in a high- turnout presidential election year.

The Democratic candidates for two available seats are Steve Tanelli, a North Arlington council member, and Tracy Silna Zur, a Franklin Lakes attorney with a varied public service background.

The Republicans are incumbent Robert Hermansen of Mahwah and Margaret "Peg" Watkins, the former mayor of River Edge. Incumbent John Driscoll is not seeking reelection.

For us, supporting Hermansen for reelection is a pretty easy call. Hermansen was first elected in 2009 with a pledge to cut his pay by 25 percent, put the county budget online and, more importantly, adopt an ordinance banning pay-to-play, the unhealthy practice of the politically connected getting jobs and contracts in return for campaign contributions. All three goals have been accomplished. County residents definitely benefit when county expenses are a click away, and they most assuredly benefit when hiring is free from the influence of political money. The county's ordinance limits political contributions from those seeking employment and contracts to $300 per candidate and $2,500 per election cycle. …

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