Tag Archive: Richard Berdnik

Kicking Off the General Election Campaign

After a hard fought primary campaign, the Democratic Party is united and energized for the general election.  The progress we made in Haledon is visible throughout the town-on our streets, in our parks, and with our quality of life. And, together, we need to continue that progress for four more years.  The final two-month sprint starts today, and we need to work at every level to elect Democrats this November.  

Passaic County Democrats were hit with a bombshell when Sheriff Jerry Speziale resigned to take a job with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Although this was disappointing news, as Sheriff Speziale was a strong partner and an asset for Haledon, I am excited about our new Sheriff candidate and the unique skills he brings to the table.  Clifton Lt. Richard Berdnik is a strong candidate who will keep Passaic County families safe, efficiently manage the Sheriff Department’s budget, and bring an outside perspective to reforming our prison system.  Our Passaic County Democratic Committee meeting to ratify Berdnik was a monumental event – you can read my tweets to see how it all played out that night in Paterson.  

Up-and-down the Row B bracket the Passaic County Democratic Committee has strong candidates to serve our families and our community.  Congressman Bill Pascrell has a track record of delivering for the 8th Congressional District and Haledon specifically, bringing in stimulus dollars to renovate our infrastructure. When we needed assistance upgrading the Roe Street Park, Freeholders Terry Duffy and Pat Lepore were there for us.  Together, we worked to earmark the funds through the county open space grant program and now our children are benefiting from the upgrades and improvements.    

It’s about the process

promoted by Rosi

I want to preface this entire diary by thanking Senator Loretta Weinberg for pushing so hard to pass the Party Democracy Act.  Last night’s transparent process would not have occurred without this very important law.

Last night the Passaic County Democratic Committee convened in Paterson to nominate a replacement candidate for Sheriff, following the sudden and abrupt departure of Jerry Speziale who accepted a position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  

After a lengthy process of checking in members of the County Committee – verifying addresses and identities – the meeting was started with a speech from Chairman John Currie on how the process was to be conducted.  First, the floor was opened for nominations to Chair the meeting.  Bill Pascrell III was nominated, seconded, and unanimously elected (by voice vote) to chair the meeting.  

Next, the floor was opened for nominations for Sheriff.  County committee members nominating candidates for consideration were each given two minutes to speak on behalf of their candidate.  Former Paterson Police Chief Larry Spagnola was nominated and seconded, and chose to address the committee on his own behalf.  Clifton Police Lieutenant Richard Berdnik, the choice of Chairman Currie, was then nominated and seconded as a candidate.  Both Congressman Bill Pascrell and Chairman Currie spoke on his behalf.  

Following the speeches there was a motion to close the nominations – which was passed – and voting began via secret ballot.  Members filed into a backroom in alphabetical order according to municipality.  Each person was given a note card (stamped with an official logo to prevent any fraud), and lawyers from both sides monitored as members dropped their secret ballot into a box.  After voting concluded, the meeting was reconvened and each ballot was read one-by-one. As Rosi reported last night, Mr. Berdnik won the contest in convincing fashion.  

Frankly, neither candidate excited me.  Both are recent converts to the Democratic Party – Spagnola only registering twelve days ago, and Berdnik switching affiliations in 2005. I was most interested in the process, and I will say, it was very transparent and fair.  Chairman Currie did a fine job in following the parameters of the Party Democracy Act and for that he should be applauded. People around Passaic County and New Jersey should realize how much this law empowers rank-and-file members to exert their influence on the political process. If we want better candidates, more accountable representatives, and a better democracy, this law is the best weapon anyone could ask.