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Bergenfield mayor Norman Schmelz

Schmelz condemns Saudino

Tedesco challenger stops short of a call to resign

By Nikita Biryukov, September 20 2018 6:35 pm

Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz isn’t willing to let Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino sink his campaign challenging Jim Tedesco for the county executive seat.

“It’s outrageous that that the top law enforcement official in Bergen County is espousing such hate and ignorance. This calls into question other actions of our County Government and how decisions to prosecute, enforce laws, and investigate illegalities are conducted,” Schmelz said.  “The battle to fight ignorance and hate is not over in 2018. Unfortunately, it is staring right us from County Government in Hackensack.”

Schmelz’s condemnation falls short of those issued by some others, including Gov. Phil Murphy, Tedesco, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, who all called for the sheriff’s resignation following his comments on Thursday.

“Residents and employees have an expectation to be treated professionally, fairly, and without discrimination,” Johnson, who represents portions of Bergen, said. “Sheriff Saudino must resign immediately for the good of all the residents of Bergen County and to maintain the high standards of the Office of Bergen County Sheriff.”

Saudino, in an apology for the comments published in the Garfield Daily Voice, suggested he would not resign.

Whatever way the events play out for Saudino, it’s likely that Schmelz will still be facing an uphill battle against Tedesco.

There are close to twice as many Democrats registered in the county as there are Republicans, and Democrats’ county coffers overflowing when compared to those of their Republican counterparts.

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