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Freeholders Should Abstain from Sheriff's Budget Vote, County Exec Says

Kathleen Donovan said two freeholders with kids who work for the Sheriff's Office should not vote.

Patch File Photo.
Patch File Photo.

Another political battle between Republican County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Democratic freeholders broke out Wednesday night when Donovan suggested during a public meeting that two freeholders recuse themselves from voting on the Sheriff’s budget, NorthJersey.com reported.

Donovan told Freeholder Chairman David Ganz and Freeholder Steve Tanelli that it’d be unethical for them to vote on the budget because each has a child who works for the Sheriff, the report said. After presenting her 2014 budget, Donovan said the two should, “recuse yourselves on any and all issues, budgetary or otherwise, regarding all law enforcement in Bergen County,” NorthJersey.com reported.

Tanelli, whose son makes $81,135 a year as a Crime Scene Investigator, fired back, saying he was “offended,” and that the County Executive was “taking shots” at those who did not agree with her positions, the report said. Tanelli also said he sought legal advice after getting sworn in last year, and the board attorney said it would not be a conflict for him to vote on law enforcement matters, the report said.

Ganz, whose daughter makes $23,400 a year as a Sheriff’s Office clerk, told NorthJersey.com that he didn’t think it was appropriate for Donovan to call out the freeholders’ children at a public meeting.

The back-and-forth is the latest in a string of political battles between the freeholder board, who voted to merge the Bergen County Police Department with the Sheriff’s Office last year, and Donovan, who sued them over the decision.

The next argument will likely be over Donovan’s proposed county budget, which includes a 1.9 percent county tax increase, the report said. 

BellairBerdan February 21, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Why Donovan didn't tell her Chief of Staff and Administrator to recuse themselves from votes regarding the county when they were Fair Lawn council members?

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