Dear Editor,

Union County residents pay attention to what their elected officials are doing at all times – but especially now.   Of concern, is what our elected officials are trying to pull in the upcoming municipal and county democratic primaries.

Put simply, the UC Democratic Machine, headed by Senator Nick Scutari, Freeholder Al Mirabella, Union County Manager Ed Oatman and UCDC Executive Director Nick Fixmer, is trying to protect that which benefit themselves, their friends and family. Their alleged behavior is so egregious Linden Mayor Derek Armstead has called for a federal investigation into unethical and perhaps, illegal business relationships and contracts.

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Armstead writes, “Sadly, there is not even a pretense of separation between county government and the Union County Democratic organization.  Based on numerous press reports, the Freeholder Board is well-aware of the Oatman-Fixmer business relationship and doesn’t have a problem with it.”

You can read the full letter here.

Last year Nick Scutari chose to run against Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr for Union County Democratic Committee chair.  Scutari won using questionable practices. Scutari was so afraid of losing power that might kill the cash cow he and his buddies were nursing at, he controlled much of the process. He filed and won a court case to make it a signed ballot – so he could see who was with him and who was against him.

Now those who exercised their right to cast their vote for the candidate they believed would serve the committee best are being systematically targeted by Scutari and his crew. 

In Plainfield, committee members who voted for Colleen Mahr were not asked to run again with chairman/mayor Mapp in Column A - they are running in column B.

In Fanwood, 13 of the 14 committee chairs voted in the committee chair election for Colleen Mahr.  The lone Scutari vote was cast by Union Country Freeholder and Scotch Plains Town Manager, Al Mirabella.  Unfortunately, Mr. Mirabella has brought Scutari’s revenge politics to Fanwood.  Scutari, as UC Dem chair threw current members off the line and he and Al hastily put together a slate of their own candidates – which includes four married couples and many with county or muni jobs. 

For more information read this letter from current Fanwood Councilperson Erin McElroy-Barker.

Clark committee members who voted for Colleen faced a similar fate and are running in Column D.

Read the committee members letter to the editor here:

In Cranford, most who voted for Colleen Mahr in the county chair election were taken off the ballot.  Those not given the column are running under Column D.

Here is more information on the Cranford experience from one of the members now running on Column D.

In Elizabeth 98% of the vote for county chair went to Scutari, to see how that city values democracy (or devalues it) read this piece. Elizabeth council will only listen to public when they say something they want to hear, resident says

If one is viewing the primary challenges from the municipal level, they might think this is about choice as some of the Scutari Column A candidates have said.  But once you view what is happening across the county – the power grab becomes blatantly apparent.  The denial of Column A (The Line) by Scutari (as county chair) is happening in most municipalities where the majority of members voted for Mahr.

During this time when our towns and state need unity to build consensus on creating a society that works for all, it is unfortunate that some power-hungry people in the democratic party have chosen to divide us, all because some people had a difference of opinion on who would be the best leader for the party.  The choice now seems obvious – had Mayor Mahr won that election she would be uniting the party and working on goals to benefit all.

I will be voting for the people who have served my community well over the years, and have shown by example that the borough is their priority.  I hope people throughout the county ask questions and find out who is there for their community and who is out to shore up power for the county machine. 

Many of us have choices in the June 4th election – choose wisely.

Maggie Savoca