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Gloucester County Sheriff-elect Jonathan Sammons. (Photo: Sammons for Sheriff via Facebook).

Newly elected Republican sheriff removed from Gloucester County administrative office

Republicans decry ‘segregation’ of Sheriff-elect Jonathan Sammons, who is Black

By Joey Fox, December 10 2021 2:36 pm

Following the election of Republican Jonathan Sammons as Gloucester County Sheriff last month, the Democratic-controlled county government is planning on moving the sheriff’s office out of the county administrative office, prompting outcry from Republicans.

“Last month we were proud to have elected Jonathan Sammons as Gloucester County’s first Black sheriff,” said Chris Konawel, a Republican Gloucester County commissioner-elect who won office alongside Sammons. “Now the Democrats who control county government are moving the sheriff’s office away from most of the staff he will supervise and the rest of the county’s leadership.”

Fellow Republican commissioner-elect Nick DiSilvio was more explicit, directly implying that the mostly white county commission was discriminating against Sammons based on race.

“This is modern day segregation!” DeSilvio said. “What’s next, are the Democrats going to make Sheriff-elect Sammons sit in the back of the room at commissioner meetings?”

State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington), the chair of the Gloucester County Democratic Committee, did not respond to a 12:51 p.m. request for comment.

Sammons won the office in an upset, defeating five-term sheriff Carmel Morina by 1,565 votes, or 51-49%. Sammons, Konawel, and DeSilvio are the first Republicans to win countywide office in Gloucester County since 2010.

The political maneuvers to remove Sammons from the county’s center of power are not without precedent. In 2001, then-Gloucester County Freeholder Director Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) chose to suddenly move his Republican colleague Raymond Zane II into a smaller office.

Zane cried foul and said Sweeney was retaliating against him because he had voted against Sweeney to be freeholder director, charges which Sweeney denied. Sweeney went on to defeat Zane’s father later that year in the 3rd Senate district – a seat he would hold until he got swept out in the same election that put Sammons in office.

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