One of the three people who started a petition to recall Bayonne 2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace in May removed himself from the effort this morning, according to a letter submitted to the city clerk’s office.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I would like to remove my name from the recall committee of City Councilman Sal Gullace, effective immediately upon meeting with Mr. Gullace, I do not find that he has committed wrongdoing that is sufficient to justify a recall election or early removal from office,” Ryan Walker wrote in a letter dated today.
The recall of Gullace, which was also spearheaded by city residents Jacqueline Force and Mary Curtis, received a green link from the clerk’s office on May 26. The group cited Gullace’s lack of responsiveness to issues in their ward as their main concern.
“There was at least some reasonable information as to why the councilman should be recalled, but it was a tight window to file this and initially I didn’t have time to research this. The biggest thing for me was accepting the health benefits. I hold people in public office in a little higher regard,” Walker said in a phone interview.
“The way it was presented to sound, it seemed a little convoluted and confusing. That coupled with any other evidence presented to him wasn’t strong enough to justify a recall election.”
Walker added that he’s never actually met Force or Curtis and has not had any communication with them since the recall of Gullace started.
In order for the recall effort to successfully force a special election, which is estimated to cost $75,000, the committee must submit 2,569 signatures – 25 percent of registered 2nd Ward voters – verified by the clerk’s office.
The recall of Gullace, who unseated Joseph Gurley in 2014, came just over a month after a childhood friend of Mayor Jimmy Davis launched a recall.
Davis has already dismissed the recall as en effort to “serve the political interests of the very few who would rather see Bayonne move backwards.”
Pat Desmond was instrumental in helping Davis defeat incumbent Mark Smith in a brutal 2014 campaign that included a runoff election.
That recall will need 8.178 verified signatures by September 27 to launch a special election.
Bayonne Clerk Robert Sloan said that his office is in receipt of Walker’s letter as of this afternoon.
“We sat down, had a meeting, we talked. Someone he talked to was lying about me. Me, Gary and Sharon did the insurance at the same time because sometime told us about it. We also discussed development in the 2nd Ward, such as the addition to Barnabas Health,” Gullace said over the phone.
“The people who did this never even reached out to me. Ryan’s a nice guy, he just moved here from Connecticut and wanted to get involved with the local Republican party and these people are lying to him. So we sat down and it turns out I knew his uncles for a long time. He finally realized it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
Force declined to comment on the situation.