The Contradiction at the Heart of Morris County Politics


MORRISTOWN – COVID really scaled down this year’s Morris County Commissioners’ reorganization meeting, so much so that there was no packed audience and more importantly, no food buffet.  What a pity.

But there were the usual speeches and mutual admiration among commissioners, all of which concealed an obvious rift on the all-Republican board.

Just a few weeks ago, four commissioners backed a resolution asking the state to investigate fellow Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo for an alleged ethics violation. That would be allegedly threatening a county employee in a dispute over buying voting machines.

Three commissioners didn’t support the resolution and didn’t even attend the meeting in which the resolution was passed. They were Mastrangelo himself, Doug Cabana and Kathy DeFillippo. The terms of all three expire this year.

Cabana and Mastrangelo are seeking reelection while DeFillippo is not. She has been replaced on the ticket by Melissa Florance Lynch.

The primary is five months away, but the trio is wasting no time. They have already secured endorsements from most of the county’s Republican mayors.

This begs a few questions.

Do the mayors – there are 22 of them – not care about the apparent state investigation of Mastrangelo?

Maybe they don’t know about it.

Or, do they agree with Mastrangelo that all this stems from a political vendetta?

A related question concerns the four commissioners who backed the resolution – Deborah Smith, Stephen Shaw, John Krickus and Tayfun Selen.

Strange things happen in politics, but it’s hard to see them backing Mastrangelo and his ticketmates.

After all, accusing someone of ethical violations and then supporting his reelection doesn’t make much sense, does it?

It will not be surprising to see more commission candidates surface.  The primary, as we said, is five months away, but the county nominating convention is much sooner than that. Sources say there are other prospective candidates out there, including a former freeholder/commissioner.

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