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Mayor Accuses Council of Political Maneuvering

McCarthy says Democratic Party Chairman Pete Strumolo is influencing township council votes

 

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.”

Pat Gilleran March 27, 2012 at 05:08 PM
That's funny, McCarthy was Stromolo's guy. Wonder if it was the Redevelopment and associated vendor contract that split the two... Per the mayor “[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.” Isn't that your goal too Mr. Mayor???
paul devaney March 27, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I never get involved in politics, no time after my trip home from my job in NY my focus is my wife and 2yo daughter but after reading this article I had to say something. I had the best laugh reading where the Mayor says this Mr. Strumolo has influence over 4 elected officials. So should I call my councilman, Mr. Joanow, and say I voted for you so I expect you to suport ( whatever ) I'm influencing him. Mayor please just do what your elected to do and stop this silly childrens games. PaulRD777
Lisa B March 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM
It's disgraceful that the Mayor, in desperation because his days are counted, would resort to tainting the image of Democratic Party leaders. Chairman Strumolo hears and understands the screams of Bloomfield residents that it is time for a new, vibrant and stronger leader for Mayor. Therefore, that is why Mr. Strumolo will no longer give McCarthy the support of the party line. This is why McCarthy so rigorously is trying to change the political system to Non-Partisan; in hopes he can have a shot at yet another term. He ran four elections with a partisan system and now that he’s at risk of losing the seat, he wants to change it; a self-centered character. Not only did residents give Mayor McCarthy the opportunity to lead and to create change but also gave him 13 years! to do it and there's nothing notable he’s accomplished. He will not be elected another term- the people will make sure of it through their vote -even if the party had supported him. Last election he won by ONLY 85 votes while the rest of the ticket won by over a 1000 votes- its crystal clear. McCarthy also can't get his friends on Boards- he's losing power, he's at the end of his weak legacy and he's running scared.
Karen Banda March 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
" Chairman Strumolo hears and understands the screams of Bloomfield residents that it is time for a new, vibrant and stronger leader for Mayor. " The screams Uncle Pete is hearing is due to the people he's managed to shove down our throats for too many years now! I guarantee you no matter who's in the big chair the results will as Uncle Pete wants them to be, not us. It'll be the same circus, different clowns.
Geoff Gove March 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Ironic that the last local election appeared to give the mayor 6 votes to do whatever he wanted at council meetings. Once his colleagues saw him as a "lame duck" mayor, the curtain opened up on "The Wizard of Oz."

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