Judge Blocks Public Vote on County Police Merger
Ruling allows freeholders to vote on disbanding the Bergen County Police Department.
A judge has blocked a non-binding referendum asking if the Bergen County police should be merged into the sheriff’s office, but allowed the freeholder board to move ahead with an ordinance to disband the county police, northjersey.com reported.
Superior Court Judge Menelaos Toskos ruled Friday that the court could not move on an issue before it becomes an ordinance, the report said.
While the merger question won’t appear on the ballot, the freeholders could vote at their Sept. 12 meeting to disband the county police department. County Executive Kathleen Donovan, a supporter of the county police, is all but certain to veto the move.
The freeholders voted 4-2 in August to give voters a chance to weigh in on the proposed merger and passed an ordinance on first reading to dissolve the 89-member department. Donovan sued, claiming the moves were an overstep of the board’s power and the referendum was improper because it was not passed at a regular public meeting.
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