When four fellow council members once again shot down a bid to re-appoint Parking Authority Treasurer Joe Catalano, Mayor McCarthy showed his frustration after the meeting by firing off some tough accusations against them.
“This is baloney,” he said. “[The voting is] not coming from them, it’s coming from the Democratic Chair.”
McCarthy was referring to Democratic Party Chairman Pete Strumolo who, he says, is striving to influence the council’s votes in order to gain an upper hand politically.
“[Councilmen] Venezia, Joanow, Chalet and Bernard -- these four are just doing whatever he says,” McCarthy stated. “[Strumolo’s] object is to maintain use of the vendors to raise funds for his elections.”
McCarthy contends that Strumolo himself sought Catalano’s post, one that involves managing a $15 million bond. The mayor says Strumolo’s efforts were unsuccessful and now “The chairman doesn’t want [Catalano] in there because he thinks he’s my guy.”
Over the course of several weeks the council has resisted McCarthy’s attempts to re-appoint Catalano, even . Last night McCarthy made a motion that Catalano serve a one-year only term. Again, the council blocked it.
“The gentleman [Catalano] is well-qualified and has provided seven years of service; he’s served the township well,” Councilman Nick Joanow admitted during the meeting. “But I’d like to ask for someone else.”
For his part, Carlos Bernard said he voted against Catalano because he never saw his resume. Both McCarthy and Hamilton questioned the verity of his statement, insisting the council members had been emailed Catalano’s resume ahead of time.
“Fear is a horrible thing,” McCarthy fumed. Bernard denied he was fearful and said he was acting with due diligence.
“This a farce,” Hamilton cut in, saying the opposite was true. “We have seasoned people, good people. Not to come up with sound reasoning to keep them [in their positions] is beyond me.”
Following the tense exchange, another potentially controversial issue was raised: non-partisan elections.
Hamilton’s motion to “explore the possibility of a non-partisan election” was met with silence and failed to move, despite votes in favor from Joanow, Hamilton, and McCarthy. Councilors Bernard, Chalet, Venezia and Dunigan all voted no.
This too, McCarthy insisted after the meeting, was a result of Strumolo’s influence.
“The Chairman doesn’t want a non-partisan election because he would lose all his power," he told Patch. "If you take away the partisan elections, this town would run completely different.”