Picking a Candidate for Mayor in Rockaway

Rockaway Township Republicans will convene the evening of Sept. 11 to pick a candidate to run for mayor in November.

This procedural step is necessary after last month’s death of Mayor Michael Dachisen. Whoever wins the Nov. 6 election will complete Dachisen’s term, which runs to the end of 2019.

As we said, this is rather routine, save for a line in the notice saying, “This meeting will be closed to the public.”

It is true that purely political gatherings are exempt from the state’s Open Public Meetings Act or Sunshine Law.

But Morris County Republicans to their credit have a history of opening their county committee selection meetings to the public. That was the case this past June when Ronald DeFilippis won an acrimonious battle with Robert Zwigard for county chair.

It is also worth noting that the committee met last week to recommend three candidates to serve as interim mayor. They were current Councilman Michael Puzio, former councilman Paul Minenna and Adam Salberg. The township committee, which next meets Sept. 13, can pick one of the three. Or they can pick nobody.

There are some interesting choices here. Puzio has endorsed Mikie Sherrill, the Democratic candidate for Congress, in CD-11. Salberg is the husband of Lisa  Salberg, who is one of the organizers of an effort to recall Council President Jeremy Jedynak.

Now, one of the three names proposed for interim mayor may not necessarily be selected on the 11th to run for mayor in November.

But he may be.


This is one reason why the selection committee meeting should be open to the public.

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