The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday unanimously moved forward a bill seeking to close a loophole that forced a special election for Bergen County Sheriff after former Sheriff Michael Saudino resigned last month following publication of racist and homophobic statements he made.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest), Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), Kristin Corrado (R-Totowa), Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) and Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), would push special elections for Sheriff, County Clerk, Surrogate and Register of Deeds and Mortgages to the next year if a post is vacated within 70 days of an election.
Vacancies in the office of County Executive are already covered under existing statutes.
Saudino resigned 46 days before this year’s elections, and vote-by-mail ballots had been sent out by the time State Secretary of State Tahesha Way called for a special election.
Senators said the law would bring special election rules for constitutional row officers in line with those for other positions, like County Executive. An existing law would have the same delay on a special election for that position if a vacancy occurs within 70 days of a general election.