HACKENSACK, NJ -- Mayor John Labrosse and the City Council are joining a growing chorus of local, state and federal officials calling for the resignation of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino following an explosive report from public radio station WNYC. Saudino, who was first elected as a Republican before switching parties and winning re-election to his current term in 2016 as a Democrat, was caught on tape making racist and homophobic remarks about African Americans as well as the state's Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
"As elected officials representing the City of Hackensack, we reject and repudiate the completely unacceptable and bigoted remarks made by Sheriff Michael Saudino and hereby demand that he resign his office immediately," said the Mayor and Council in a joint statement released today. "We believe that the Sheriff can no longer effectively represent the people of our diverse city and county and that many residents have justifiably lost confidence in his ability to manage the Sheriff’s Office and the Bergen County Jail in a professional and unbiased manner. The only way to restore public confidence in the county’s public safety operations is for Sheriff Saudino to step down and we call on him to do so today."
The Mayor and Council also announced that Deputy Mayor Dave Sims would introduce a resolution at the next City Council meeting formally calling for Saudino to step down.
Governor Phil Murphy quickly called for Saudino's resignation following the publication of the remarks on Thursday. He was followed by Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) and a host of others.
"Without question, the comments made on that recording are appalling, and anyone using racist, homophobic, and hateful language is unfit for public office," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "If indeed that is Sheriff Saudino's voice on the recording, he must resign."
Thus far Saudino has resisted calls to resign despite the pressure building from throughout the county and state.
Saudino apologized to the "people of Bergen County for the insensitive recorded remarks," saying they "are not representative of the person that I am." He cited his efforts to increase the diversity of the Bergen County Sheriff's Department, indicated he had reached out to "communities I have offended" and pledged to "continue to treat everyone with the respect and dignity that is deserved by all."