The rift between Linden Mayor Derek Armstead and the Union County Democrats grew a little wider last night when Armstead tried to fire the husband of a freeholder candidate and replace him with the Mayor of West Orange.
George Mouded runs the Economic Planning Group, an employee benefit consultant firm. His wife, Kim Palmieri Mouded, just won the organization line to run for Union County Freeholder in a contest that saw incumbent Mohamed Jalloh dumped following a fight for Democratic County Chairman. Armstead was on the losing side of that fight.
Armstead moved to fire Mouded, who was awarded the contract in January after a competitive RFP, and replace him with RD Parisi Associates, which is run by West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi.
The problem for Armstead was that he didn’t have the votes. Councilwoman Rashonna Cosby, who wants to challenge Armstead in the Democratic mayoral primary, moved to table the issue after Councilman John Roman brought up Parisi’s $1,000 contribution to the mayor’s campaign. Councilman Peter Brown, an Armstead ally, was absent; Councilman Barry Javick decided to abstain, telling the New Jersey Globe that he “didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.” That gave Cosby a 5-4 win on her motion.
Parisi, who is seeking re-election in May to a third term as mayor, formed his company in 2008. He’s either a concerned Democrat or an aggressive businessman: he’s also contributed thousands to candidates running for local office in Burlington Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, and Union counties. A quick search shows that Parisi’s firm has contacts in many of those places.
Mouded has also contributed to Democratic campaigns in Union County.
Armstead is expected to be tossed off the organization line soon by Linden Democratic Municipal Chairman Nicholas Scutari. Armstead endorsed Colleen Mahr in her race against Scutari for county chairman last month. Scutari carried Linden by a 50-20 vote.