Paul Weiss recall, Medford Lakes, New Jersey, 2009

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An intent to Recall Mayor Paul Weiss was filed with the borough clerk's office in Medford Lakes in late February 2009. Five residents - former mayor Davis Wasson and residents John Gallimore, Anthony Amato, Michael Powers and Louis Potter - spearheaded the recall and filed the intent to recall in February.[1] The recall did not go to a vote because the required number of signatures were nto turned in.

Path to the ballot

The petition requires signatures of 25 percent of the last general election's registered voters in the borough, approximately 752 signatures. According to state law, the signatures must be gathered within 160 days from the date the notice of intention was filed.

City clerk Mark McIntosh told the mayor and the city council on September 1, 2009, that the petition for recall had failed to collect enough signatures to advance to an election. According to Mayor Paul Weiss: “The failure of the recall effort is a victory for common sense. I am pleased that the voters support Council’s inquiry into the Borough’s delivery of police services, and whether we have reasonable alternatives to reduce taxes through a shared arrangement. The Borough will continue to confront significant financial challenges, and Council must address difficult questions and make informed choices – that’s what the voters expect us to do.”[2]

Reason for recall

In the group's notice, they said they wanted to recall Weiss for "a violation of public trust, improper fiscal responsibility and the lack of ability to follow the intentions of the open public meetings act."[3] In regards to the open meetings act violation, the group referred to a January 14, 2009, meeting. They argued that the meeting was not properly advertised.[4]

The recall effort began after Mayor Weiss supported a shared-services agreement to have neighboring Medford provide police coverage in the borough as a way to save money. On February 25, 2009, the council authorized an application for a state grant to conduct a study on the controversial issue. "We feel that during the vote to reject the offer from Medford, the mayor wanted to persuade (council) to not (reject the offer)," said former mayor Wasson. "We're being cautious about the whole situation. There were some residents who wanted to call for his resignation, but we thought that wasn't the right thing to do, so we decided to go through the recall process."[3][5]


Weiss' response

In response to the recall effort, Mayor Weiss said he was aware about the town's disapproval of the Medford shared-services study but added, "I think this [recall] effort, if it's successful, will not get rid of the issue. It will not solve our fiscal problems."[3] On March 1, 2009, Weiss said, "How can we have a thorough, unfettered and democratic discourse if we are prevented from having such discussions by people who recall public officials whose viewpoints they find disagreeable?"[4]

See also