The mayors of Hoboken and Secaucus, swept up recently in a federal corruption probe of 44 political figures in the state, resigned from their positions last week amid a public outcry for indicted officials to step down from public office.
Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano Friday relinquished his post following Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell’s resignation two days before. Both men are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion. Cammarano and Elwell allegedly took $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, for their influence in expediting real-estate development approvals.
Cammarano, a former at-large city councilman, was sworn in as Hoboken’s mayor on July 1, after winning a runoff election against council President Dawn Zimmer. Zimmer will now serve as Hoboken’s acting mayor. There will be a special mayoral election in November to finish Cammarano’s term.
Secaucus deputy mayor David Drumeler will take over Elwell’s post.
Also charged in the corruption sweep are Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, D-Hudson, and Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, R-Ocean, along with Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez.
In addition to the resignations, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts last week announced that he will suspend salary and benefits for Smith and Van Pelt and for Assemblyman Joseph Vas, D-Middlesex, who is charged in a separate investigation. Roberts has also removed the men from their committee posts.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has asked officials charged in the case to resign from their positions.
On July 23, state Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria, who has not been indicted, stepped down from his cabinet position after federal officials searched his home and office in relation to the corruption investigation. The state’s Local Finance Board, a division of the DCAC, oversees all municipal borrowing throughout New Jersey.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, R-Essex, last week urged Corzine to call an immediate meeting of the LFB to review the status of cities whose leaders are involved in the probe. Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, R-Morris and Passaic, Wednesday asked for Corzine to hold a special session of the legislature so that lawmakers can work on ethics bills already filed in both chambers.