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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy to pick Bergen Sheriff

Requires advise and consent of Senate

By David Wildstein, September 22 2018 9:32 pm

Phil Murphy will nominate an acting Bergen County Sheriff to replace Michael Saudino, who resigned on Friday after getting caught on tape making racist and homophobic comments.

Murphy’s pick will require Senate confirmation, which means he’ll need sign off from the four Senators from Bergen County: Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), and Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest).  He’ll need a fifth Senator, if his pick comes from one of the Bergen towns in districts represented by Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon) or Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa).   

The new Sheriff could be an interim pick, since Bergen County Democrats are hardly obligated to accept Murphy’s choice as their candidate in 2019.  

Two obvious things to watch for:  

1. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who served as Bergen County Prosecutor before Murphy made him the state’s chief law enforcement official, is likely to have considerable influence over the selection.

2. Murphy’s instinct will be to pick a woman or a minority — or both — to replace Saudino.  Bergen County has only elected white men to the post, although Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) served as acting Sheriff in 2001 after Democrat Joseph Ciccone resigned following a badge-for-pay scandal.

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