Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Police a Hot Button for Glen Rock Candidates

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Police a Hot Button for Glen Rock Candidates

Article excerpt

GLEN ROCK -- Police leadership and raising more revenue for public services are principal issues for two slates of candidates for local office.

Four candidates -- GOP incumbent Joan Orseck; her running mate, Robert Bourne; and Democratic challengers Kristine Morieko and William "Skip" Huisking -- are running for two three-year council seats on the Nov. 3 ballot. Republican Mayor John van Keuren and Democrat Bruce Packer are vying for the four-year mayoral term.

In a lively forum Wednesday night, the two tickets outlined their respective visions for the borough's future. About 85 people attended the event, sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Audience members submitted questions on cards, then watched candidates spar over issues including parking, the promotion of affordable housing and government transparency.

But divisions were sharpest when candidates spoke about how they would handle the borough's police department and its embattled administration, particularly Police Chief Fred Stahman.

Stahman came under criticism after the suspensions and subsequent reinstatements of two popular officers this year, as well as the August arrest and criminal charges against Detective Sgt. Eric Reamy for allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to two underage girls.

Democrats called for change in the top brass. Morieko, a paralegal specializing in municipal law, stated bluntly, "the administration has to go," but Republicans generally favored a more cautious approach.

"We allowed them to suspend -- without pay and benefits -- two of our finest officers for an offense that was not of an egregious matter ... and we had Detective Sgt. Reamy running amok doing awful things to children," Morieko said. "We need to learn from our mistakes, rebuild and move forward."

But van Keuren, seeking his fourth term as mayor, said the issue is "more complex" than his opponents make it sound.

"The mayor and council can't just step in and say: 'You're fired.' There has to be a case built up. And that has been one of the major problems. ... You can't just start your own investigation," van Keuren said.

Many candidates touched on the related issue of transparency, with Democrats calling for an increase as Republicans defended their openness during recent controversies. …

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