In the Face of that Fledgling Rockaway Recall


When we last left Rockaway Township, the council majority had scheduled a special meeting to carry on the affairs of government after the death earlier this month of Mayor Michael Dachisen.

This week, the council majority is backing their council president – and now acting mayor – Jeremy Jedynak in the face of a fledgling recall effort.

They are councilmembers Patty Abrahamsen, Vic Palumbo, Phyllis Smith and Tucker Kelley.

The rhetoric, not surprisingly, is flowing,

“The residents of Rockaway Township must know that despite the extremist tactics of a few radical actors to disrupt government services, the council will continue to conduct business as usual,” said Abrahamsen.

Kelley chimed in by saying, “This group of radical extremists represent a time in Rockaway’s history that we have put behind us. They are representatives from a regime that was ousted for lack of transparency for using police officers as their personal couriers, and for taking premium benefits that cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars.”

All four councilmembers expressed support for Jedynak.

Those reportedly involved in the recall movement include Cathy Dachisen, the former mayor’s wife, Mike Antonelli, the brother of a former councilman, and Lisa Salberg, who long has been active in township politics.

Recalls are not easy.

Organizers must get 25 percent of the township’s registered voters to sign the recall petition. In this case, that’s a bit more than 4,500 qualified signatures. That means organizers probably need to get more than 5,000 raw signatures, because many names end up being disqualified for various reasons, including not being a registered voter or not having a valid township address.

If the recall is not enough, Salberg raised the ante a bit more with a Facebook post urging people to contact the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office about alleged violations of the Open Public Meetings Act. She also included a cryptic note about telling the prosecutor’s office about “any stalking or harassing behavior you may be witness to.”

None of this is all that unusual when local political disputes grow exponentially over time. But there should be some concern here for Morris County Republicans. There are some Democrats involved here, but this really is a dispute among Republicans.

Rockaway Township is a relatively large town in CD-11, and it’s a place where you figure congressional candidate Jay Webber needs to do well. Having local Republicans in a blood feud with other local Republicans may turn off some voters to the GOP.

One presumes the Mikie Sherrill camp is paying attention here.

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