With Governor Phil Murphy in attendance at Wednesday’s Democratic Committee of Bergen County (DCBC) convention, Paul Juliano became the new county chair. He succeeds Lou Stellato who resigned after being appointed to the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority. Stellato can be proud of his achievements. However, Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee (TDMC) members seek more democratization of the county committee’s procedures. (Photo above: Juliano standing; Stellato immediately behind.)
Teaneck members of the DCBC were summoned to a meeting yesterday where “voting will begin immediately following the nominations(s).” With only one candidate on the ballot there was no choice so Paul Juliano automatically won the seat. While recognizing, as Tom Abbott points, that seeking the position requires considerable effort and the job is unpaid, TDMC members would like procedures that encourage more candidates to run for elective offices.
It’s not surprising that Gov. Phil Murphy attended the convention. Our county in his 2017 election provided him with 129,265 votes, almost as many as the highest amount of 129,470 he received in Essex County. Likewise within our county he received
2,017 8,580 votes in Teaneck – significant but not the highest number amongst all towns. You might say that both our county and township are Democratic powerhouses. Murphy praised Juliano as an extraordinary leader, saying, “I am all in with Paul and the best is yet to come.”
Democratic residents can be proud that at the previous DCBC convention the TDMC tied the Hackensack contingent for the highest number of “voters.” Nonetheless, TDMC Vice Chair Ron Schwartz has said, “I have reviewed the county bylaws extensively, and see numerous ways that they can be amended to make the selection and convention process more open, inclusive, and transparent.” Likewise Sen. Loretta Weinberg, says about the process, “I believe this need some reform.” For the source of these comments and more information on the matter, see Where is the DEMOCRACY in the DEMOCRATIC Committee of Bergen County?
In his acceptance speech Juliano promised an “open, transparent and inclusive process of participation and engagement with a seat at the table for all.” He said the committee by-laws were outdated, in need of revision and he would work through committees and bring recommendations before the membership.
Alexandra Soriano-Taveras, Chair of the TDMC, said after the convention, “With only one candidate we are nonetheless going through the democratic process, and we are seeing change. This is the time we need to come together at the party. I have faith in Paul Juliano. He has been inclusive, communicative and seemingly interested in the process. He has our support but we hold him accountable.”