Salberg The Interim Mayor in Rockaway, not Minenna

ROCKAWAY TWP. – Has there ever been so much anguish and legal skirmishing over a mayoral job that will last about five weeks?

Probably not.

Then again, Rockaway Township politics long has broken the bounds of normalcy.

A judge ruled Monday in state Superior Court, Morristown that the new mayor – or rather interim mayor – will be Adam Salberg, a man with no elected experience.

How did we get here?

Friction among the council majority and then-mayor Michael Dachisen had ensued for more than a year. Litigation between the mayor and the five-person council majority headed by Council President Jeremy Jedynak was ongoing when Dachisen died in mid-August.

Turmoil resulted.

There was a special council meeting almost within hours of the mayor’s funeral, which quickly degenerated into chaos.

Another meeting was set for Sept. 13, but was delayed when Christ Church, which was to host the meeting, apparently thought better of it and declined to do so.

Finally, a meeting was held at the odd time of 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 14.

At that meeting, the council named Paul Minenna as interim mayor and John Inglesino, a veteran of county political wars, as town attorney.

Opponents sued, claiming the meeting was illegal. And as such, it was the county committee’s job to name the interim mayor. And the committee wanted Salberg.

Today, Judge Stuart Minkowitz agreed.

He ruled that the Sept. 14 meeting was indeed illegal, because it violated the notification requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act or Sunshine Law. So, the judge said all action was null and void.

Bottom line; Salberg is the interim mayor, not Minenna.

And Inglesino is not the attorney. The previously-disposed attorney, John Iaciofano, still has the job.

Here is an obvious question.

Was it really worth a full-fledged legal battle just so a man (Salberg) could be mayor for five weeks? His interim term ends when a new mayor is elected to fill out the remainder of Dachisen’s term on Nov. 6.

That man is destined to be Mike Puzio.

He is not a favorite of the council majority, but he has been endorsed by the GOP committee.

He also has been endorsed by township Democrats. Puzio, you see, is no stranger to this type of bipartisanship.

He has endorsed Democrat Mike Sherrill, not Republican Jay Webber, for Congress in the 11th District.

And with that on his resume, township Republicans are backing him for mayor?

Go figure.

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