Home>Local>Burlington>Burlington judge punts challenge to seating of county commissioner to May 23

Allison Eckel. (Photo: Allison Eckel).

Burlington judge punts challenge to seating of county commissioner to May 23

Republicans challenging eligibility of Eckel after Democrats missed deadline

By David Wildstein, May 10 2022 11:29 am

With Democrat Allison Eckel now seated on the Burlington County Board of Commissioners, a Superior Court judge doesn’t seem to be in any rush to hear a GOP challenge that she holds the seat illegally.

Judge John E. Harrington will hear a GOP challenge on May 23.  Harrington held a case management conference on Monday morning.

Republicans argue that Democrats missed the statutory deadline to fill the seat left vacant when Linda Hynes resigned in January to become a Superior Court judge.  Joe Andl, the Democratic county chairman, had until February 19 to fill the seat, but he didn’t schedule the special election convention until April 26.

The GOP filed a lawsuit in March in a bid to stop Democrats from filling the post, but Harrington dismissed the case because it was “not ripe for adjudication at this time.”

After Eckel was sworn in the following day, the GOP went back to court and filed a challenge.

Republicans say the matter is urgent and are seeking a temporary restraining order to block Eckel.

“The grave threat of numerous potential challenges to actions of the Board of County Commissioners necessitates immediate judicial redress,” wrote Christopher Dasti, an attorney for the Burlington Republicans in court documents.

Dasti said that Eckel’s participation while the matter is under review could potentially invalidate votes by the commissioners that she participates in.

“Vacating Ms. Eckel’s appointment does not infringe on any party’s rights at the November 2022 election,” Dasti stated.

Burlington Commissioners have four meetings scheduled for May and June.

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