Dover First Democrats are preparing a recall effort to push out Mayor James Dodd after he and the town’s Board of Alderman passed an ordinance that would give Dodd sole discretion on what items are considered by the board.
A source familiar with the thinking of Dover First wing, which will hold a majority of seats on the board when candidates take office in January, said the group has a recall committee picked out and will begin gathering signatures within the next several days, working through the holidays with the aim of getting signatures from just over 2,000 of the town’s registered voters.
The ordinance passed Tuesday would make Dodd, who will almost certainly face a primary challenger backed by the Morris County Democratic Committee next year, the sole arbiter of what ordinances and resolutions come before the board.
“Immigrants like me came to this country to escape dictators,” said Alderman-elect Carlos Valencia. We understand very well how people in power try to keep control. We will not accept this.”
Dover First Democratic candidates won three seats on the board this year, and two former Dodd allies, Alderwoman Carolyn Blackman and Alderman Steven Toth, have aligned with the group, giving the faction a 5-4 majority on the board.
The ordinance hamstrings that faction, effectively preventing them from bringing any legislation to a vote without Dodd’s approval, though Dodd was already able to veto anything that gets past by a slim margin. A two-thirds majority is required to override such a veto.
The source said the county-backed faction is also planning a legal challenge to the ordinance, claiming it infringes upon the town’s separation of powers.