Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N. Haledon Ethics Panel Dismisses Mayor's Action

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N. Haledon Ethics Panel Dismisses Mayor's Action

Article excerpt

NORTH HALEDON -- The local Ethics Board has dismissed Mayor Randy George's complaint against John Bleeker, a vocal critic, over a series of votes he took as a councilman 20 years ago.

In a resolution adopted at a March 18 meeting, the North Haledon Ethics Board dismissed George's complaint, calling it "frivolous" and citing the time that has passed since Bleeker took the votes and since he served on the council. He left in 1994.

"The board felt that it's water over the dam," said Roy Heerema, the Ethics Board chairman. "It's very difficult to dig up prior contacts and make any conclusions on that regard."

The resolution states that to hold a hearing now to gather evidence "is simply unreasonable as evidence obtained in such a hearing could be unreliable."

Bleeker has his own complaint before the Ethics Board, over George's use of borough generators after Superstorm Sandy. The board is scheduled to take it up on May 3 in a closed session at the Municipal Building.

The dueling complaints are the latest salvo in a long-running conflict between the two men, both Republicans. They have clashed over the council's closure of Fire Company 1, of which Bleeker had been a member for decades; the council's decision to remove the state Length of Service Award Program, which offers annual stipends as incentives for volunteer firefighters; and borough-provided health insurance for the mayor and council members.

The ethics complaints stem from George's use of borough generators to power his High Mountain Road ice cream bakery after power was knocked out for more than a week after the storm hit in late October 2012. Bleeker called for George's resignation and filed criminal charges against George, but the Bloomingdale Municipal Court dismissed the case in September, ruling Bleeker lacked standing to prosecute George on the state's behalf.

George criticized the Ethics Board's dismissal of his complaint, saying it reached its decision before considering evidence. He contends the local ethics law has no statute of limitation and filed an appeal with the state on April 15. …

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