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Burlington County Democratic Chairman Joe Andl. (Photo: Burlington County Democratic Committee).

Burlington GOP files lawsuit to stop Dems from filling county commissioner vacancy

Republicans say county chairman Joe Andl missed statuatory deadline

By David Wildstein, March 25 2022 9:19 pm

Saying that Democrats have “squandered its chance to appoint a temporary successor” following the resignation of Burlington County Commissioner Linda Hynes, Republicans are asking a judge to prohibit anyone from filling the vacant seat through the remainder of the year.

In a lawsuit filed on Friday the Burlington County Republican Committee says that Democrats missed the 35-day window to fill Hynes’ seat through a special election convention.

Hynes resigned on January 15 to become a Superior Court Judge and the Democratic county chairman, Joe Andl, never called a county committee meeting to elect a replacement.

The deadline was February 19.

“There is simply no statutory or common law basis permitting doing so outside the statutory timeframe,” the complaint, filed by attorney Christopher Dasti, said.

The GOP says that Democrats are planning to fill the seat anyway with Allison Eckel, their candidate in the full election.  The New Jersey Globe has confirmed Andl’s intention to appoint Eckel.

“It would be unlawful for the seat to be filled at any point,” Dasti wrote.

Republicans are seeking “judicial intervention” to prevent a late appointment to replace Hynes.

Dasti told the Court that if Burlington Democrats are “permitted to circumvent these laws and unlawfully fill the vacancy, any ensuing actions by the County Commissioners will not only be challengeable as invalid but made under a cloud of uncertainty.”

“As a result, the broad powers of the County Commissioners, if made by an improperly and unlawfully constructed board, heightens the risk for wide-ranging irreparable harm and costs to all residents of the county,’ Dasti wrote on behalf of the Burlington GOP.

Democrats acknowledged there awareness of the lawsuit at a meeting between Andl and Democratic municipal chairs, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

A lawyer representing Andl told the local party leaders that the pending litigation prohibited them from discussing the vacancy issue this evening.

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