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Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese. (Photo: Twitter).

Hillside election matter settled out of court

Mayor will be bracketed with council slate in non-partisan November 2 election

By David Wildstein, September 20 2021 11:26 am

Acting Hillside Township Clerk Beverly Harris has entered into a consent order allowing Mayor Dahlia Vertreese and her slate of township council candidates to bracket together in the November 2 non-partisan election.

Harris had initially refused to permit the bracketing of the candidates but backed down after a legal challenge.

Superior Court Judge Alan Lesnewich ordered election officials to not print Hillside’s ballots until he made a ruling.  He was originally set to hear the matter today.

As part of the settlement, Hillside must reimburse the mayor for the $1,000 in legal fees she incurred.

Still, the Vertreese lawsuit has resulted in a delay of the mailing of ballots to Hillside voters.

Union County Clerk Joann Rajoppi said that general election ballots will be sent out in waves, with ballots for Berkeley Heights and Clark sent out on September 17 and Elizabeth, Fanwood, Garwood, Kenilworth and Mountainside mailed this morning.

Vertreese faces Councilwomen Nancy Mondella and Andrew Hyatt in the mayoral election.

Mondella entered the race in July with endorsements from State Sen./Democratic County Chairman Nicholas Scutari, State Sen. Joseph Cryan, and Union County Commissioner Angela Garretson.

Vertreese, a former school board president, was elected in 2017 after Garretson gave up her seat to run for county office.  She defeated Councilman Jorge Batista in a runoff election.

Robert Rios, Lisa Bonanno and Craig Epps will run with Vertreese.  Mondella’s slate includes George Cook III, Renee Howard and Armando Guerra, while Patricia Brown, Sip Whitaker and Yolanda Rivera-Ziyad are aligned with Hyatt.

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