Only one of the last four mayors in the City of Passaic (discounting those who served in an “acting” capacity) have
avoided indictment, a burden borne by this year’s competitors.
Joseph Lipari got jammed up on extortion and tax evasion charges in the early 1990s. Then there was Sammy Rivera, indicted in 2008 for taking bribes. Dr. Alex Blanco ran under a banner of “Honesty in Action,” but he too fell to the temptation of taking bribes and now awaits sentencing.
The only mayor of the four who did not go down on corruption charges was the late Marge Semler, who died in 2015 at the age of 92.
A housewife turned bookkeeper, Ms. Semler served two terms in office between Lipari and Rivera, narrowly defeating the latter in her reelection bid before declining to run again.
“The leadership of this city is more interested in power, nepotism, and financial gain than in the welfare of the city itself,” she wrote in a letter published in the Herald News. “The sad part of all of this is that none of the higher agencies cares to keep an eye on what has been taking place here. Though life goes on, it doesn’t mean it is getting better.”