The ongoing feud between Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco and Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) continued to escalate as the two mayoral hopefuls hosted dueling fundraisers last night.
Addressing supporters at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten, Romano spoke about improving recreation programs, putting more police in the streets and responsible development, also noting that corruption and cronyism would not be tolerated by his administration.
“In our campaign, corruption will not be tolerated. There’s gonna be checks and balances, ethics is important to myself, and it’s important to the wonderful people running with me, and we want to make sure our employees understand the high standards – it starts at the top,” Romano said.
“We’re gonna diversify our workforce. What do we mean? Well, we’re gonna make sure we people know what they’re doing in our job. Not getting jobs because they’re friends of mine or political cronies.”
To the shock of no one, DeFusco, who was hosting an event at Birch, wasn’t impressed.
“It’s odd that Freeholder Romano even needs to say that: politics should be above board at all times. Cronyism and corruption should never be permissible and the fact that he needed to say it out loud, to qualify that statement, is just odd.”
During his public remarks, the councilman explained why he feels he’s the best man for the job, taking a shot at Romano for potentially being on the November 7th ballot twice.
Those remarks didn’t sit well with Romano, who said DeFusco should resign from his council seat if he feels that way, adding that he hasn’t been doing his job.
“First and foremost, maybe Mike should resign his 1st Ward council seat. And secondly, instead of focusing so much on something that is legal, that I’m doing … he should be focusing on the issues,” the freeholder stated.
Romano also stated three instances: one getting a street light fixed, one getting a housing inspector to come by and another helping a tenant with bed bugs, as times where DeFusco failed to aid his constituents.
DeFusco said he wasn’t sure if being on the ballot twice was legally or morally permissible, adding that Romano’s services are better suited at the county level where taxes have been continuing to go up.
“When I hear that somebody wants to run for two offices at the same time, I’m not sure if it’s legally permissible, but more so if it’s morally permissible. The mayor of Hoboken is somebody that needs to be laser focused on getting the job done and getting a cohesive vision out there,” DeFusco said.
” … Our county taxes have never been higher and he we need Freeholder Romano concentrated on working with the county, continuing to deliver strong county services, as well as voting on a budget that is fair to Hoboken and all of our people within it.”
Romano is facing a challenge from longtime political nemesis Pat Waiters as to whether or not he can be on the November 7th ballot for both freeholder and mayor.
Officials in attendance at Romano’s event included 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo, Kearny Mayor Al Santos and Moonachie Mayor Dennis Vaccaro.
Dignitaries spotted at DeFusco’s shindig included 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, former North Hudson Sewerage Authority Chair and ex-board of education trustee Frank Raia and former Hoboken Community Development Director Fred Bado.