EAST HANOVER, NJ - At the 2020 East Hanover Reorganization meeting, Mayor Joseph Pannullo got sworn in for his new term as Mayor. Shortly before then, East Hanover's current municipal attorney, Matthew O’Donnell, withdrew his bid for continuing work for the new year.
Mayor Joseph Pannullo said at the start of the township’s reorganization meeting Monday, “In the last 15-20 minutes, I had a visit from Matt O’Donnell, who is our municipal attorney. I was going to reappoint him tonight, but Matt came and asked me to withdraw his name from our consideration for township attorney. Matt had felt that it was within the best interest of the township of East Hanover and the people of East Hanover for him to withdraw.”
It is rumored that O’Donnell is the cooperating witness, in a corruption sting carried out by state authorities that has led to bribery charges against five current and former New Jersey politicians.
Other towns that have severed ties with O'Donnell since the scandal broke. They include Hackensack, Middletown, Holmdel, Monmouth County, Bloomfield, Wall, Mount Arlington and Manalapan. Today, Morristown also joined that list.
“You hear a lot of rumors going around, and the truth of the matter is nobody, especially Matt, has been charged with anything,” Pannullo said. “He deserves his peace. He deserves — I believe in our court systems — he deserves his day. He shouldn’t be convicted by public opinion.”
No charges have been filed against O’Donnell.
“I worked with Matt O’Donnell for 12 years, and if anyone has any doubt that Matt O’Donnell was an excellent attorney and an excellent confidant that elevated our township to new heights in all the things that we have fought for and the amount of time and effort that went into, come and pay me a visit in my office and I’ll tell you what I really think about him and how well this town is run,” the mayor said.
O’Donnell’s replacement will be decided by a public bid.