Animosity Intensifies Ahead of Rockaway Twp. Council Meeting

Politics, apparently, never takes a break.

Two days after his wake and a day after his burial, the Rockaway Township Council Wednesday night is poised to replace the municipal attorney who served under the late mayor, Michael Dachisen. Other moves related to the mayor’s tenure also are planned.

Supporters of the pending action say the council doesn’t have a choice. They note that a decision must be made soon about ongoing litigation involving the late mayor per a judge’s order. They also say that selecting a possible replacement for Dachisen, a job that initially belongs to the township’s Republican committee, compels the council to clear up pending matters now with Acting Mayor Jeremy Jedynak, who had been council president, presiding.

No matter, the special council meeting set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday already is ratcheting up animosity toward the five-person council majority, which long had feuded with Dachisen.

A quick look at social media sites devoted to township politics finds a reference to “the vile 5.” No, that’s not the name of a rock band.

“The vile 5 are trying to recreate our town government while they think we are all not watching,” the post says. “This may be the most important moment in Rockaway Township history.”

That’s hyperbole to be sure, but it seems an apt description of some of the feeling in town.

So, what does the council plan to do?

First and foremost is replacing town Attorney John Iaciofano with John Inglesino.

Iaciofano, who was favored by Dachisen, long has been scorned by the council majority.

Inglesino’s main attribute seems to be experience with both government and the law.

He is a former mayor and a onetime Morris County freeholder.

He also has experience as a municipal attorney, most recently in Parsippany. On the flip side, Inglesino’s stint in Parsippany was marked by controversy over the extent of his influence. He even emerged as a campaign issue last fall in an election that produced a Democratic mayor.

Currently, Inglesino is representing the council in a suit brought by the late mayor.

Which brings us to other issues that council wants to clear up.

The council earlier this year adopted a resolution forming an investigatory committee to explore alleged improper activities by the town administrator and attorney. Dachisen sued to nullify the resolution and the litigation was ongoing when he died.

That means the suit is moot. 

But the law firm representing the mayor, O’Toole and Scrivo, still needs to get paid. Sources say their bill is about $100,000, but that it will be reduced to $83,000. That’s the council’s view. We will see how the firm feels about that.

The council also plans to rescind the resolution calling for the investigation.

The reasoning here seems sounds.

As we said, the idea was to investigate both the town administrator and attorney. But the administrator has resigned and the attorney will be replaced. So, who is left to investigate?

Sounds simple, no?

But judging from social media posts, the Wednesday meeting may be anything but.

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