Clark, NJ police union vote ‘no confidence’ in mayor over racist comments
CLARK — It is the police union's turn to take Mayor Sal Bonaccorso to task over his racist comments.
Members of Clark PBA Local 125 took a unanimous "no confidence" vote following the release of audio recordings published by NJ.com that captured a myriad of racial slurs, comments, and misogynistic remarks that Bonaccorso admited making.
In a letter announcing the vote, members said they were “disheartened and outraged” by the Republican's "disgraceful" comments.
"His words reflect an attitude which has no place in our society, and more importantly, no place in a position of leadership nor elected office. We believe his disdain for people based on their gender or the color of their skin to be of the utmost concern and counterproductive to the very essence of the principles of our PBA and our profession," the letter says.
The union believes that Bonaccorso has "irreparably compromised his ability to supervise our membership and our Township."
“Our membership in attendance unanimously agreed that the mayor can not treat every member of ours equally and fairly based on the self-admitted comments he made regarding the gender and race that some of our very own members identify as. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that if we can not be certain that he will treat us all equally, we can not have faith in his ability to effectively lead us," PBA Local president Maz Elwardany told New Jersey 101.5.
Enough is enough, union says
The union's tipping point about Bonaccorso was his participation in the Township Council meeting on Tuesday as the state Attorney General's Office has taken over the investigation of both Clark police and the mayor's comments.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, residents demanded Bonaccorso step down. Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. and Union County commissioners have already called for his resignation.
Short of a resignation, the union called for a suspension as is allowed under the township policy and procedures.
"Such a suspension is justified. We believe that Mayor Bonaccorso, by his statements, has conclusively demonstrated that his continued presence as Mayor is counterproductive to the effective direction of public services," the union says in its letter, adding that under state statutes, Business Administrator Jim Ulrich would take over as mayor.
Bonaccorso did not speak at the meeting and has not publicly addressed the comments beyond a pre-recorded apology in a nearly five-minute video.
The mayor on Monday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for comment.