This just in…in an email sent late this afternoon, town clerk Linda Wanat says she must reject the petition to move the municipal election. The email, sent to Mayor Jerry Fried, town manager Marc Dashield and members of council, explained that after rechecking the petitions, almost 500 were disqualified:
In light of the attention the Council has given to the initiative petition, I asked the staff to recheck all petitions to ensure that they contained the proper certifications including the circulators affidavits stating that they had personally circulated the petition and that all signatures were made in their presence. The staff has just notified me that out of 1439 petition signatures received and verified by this office, a total of 478 could not be used because they were not accompanied by a circulator’s affidavit (NJSA 40:69A-186).
The necessary signatures required to place the question on the ballot was 1372; after disqualifying the 478 only 961 remained eligible for certification. Therefore I must reject the petition pursuant to NJSA 40:69A-188. The defects cannot be cured and no further action will be taken on the petition.
While this news was unexpected, I must take responsibility as the Municipal Clerk for this occurrence and apologize to all those involved in your petition effort.
Talk about dramatic twists and turns. In comments on this post, the certification of signatures was raised by former town manager Joe Hartnett. Expect more discussion at tonight’s Montclair council meeting, 8 p.m., Channel 34.
We tried to reach Mayor Fried before the meeting for comment, but were unsuccessful. However, he ended tonight’s council meeting by quoting Shakespeakere from “As You Like It:
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.