Mahwah group that recalled ex-mayor wants new one to resign for getting drunk
MAHWAH — The same group that successfully pushed to recall the township's previous mayor now is calling for the current mayor to step down after he apologized for drunken behavior at a party.
"Mahwah has proven itself to be a town that stands up for what it believes in. We were successful in a grassroots effort to recall former mayor Bill Laforet, who frequently lied to his constituents and who acted, not in the best interest of our town, but in his own political self-interest," according to a written statement released by Melanie Sue, on behalf of the recall campaign committee.
John Roth, the "lone opponent," was elected to replace Laforet in November 2018.
Now Roth has come under fire for getting drunk at a private party hosted by a township employee in January, where he has admitted he went to an upstairs bedroom and removed his pants and jacket to sleep, until his wife arrived to pick him up.
At the Township Council meeting last week, Roth read a written apology, in which he explained his actions as well as unfounded wrongdoings that were laid out in an anonymous letter and several anonymous phone calls.
Roth noted a township investigation, which included interviews with all attendees of the party, turned up no crimes had been committed, no laws broken and no complaints lodged, but Roth admitted he had shown "poor judgement" in his actions.
"Unfortunately, Mayor Roth's recent drunken behavior as well as the incident involving his leaving the scene of an accident at the Mahwah Bar & Grill, and the coverage in local and national news has subjected this town to unnecessary embarrassment," the committee's statement also said.
As reported by NorthJersey.com, Roth confirmed he had been involved in an incident Nov. 6, 2018, the night of his election, when he rear-ended another car while leaving the Mahwah Bar & Grill parking lot. Roth said he was unaware of what he described as minor damage, until being contacted by police who had reviewed security camera videos from the restaurant.
The same report said Roth declined to say whether he had been drinking or was impaired at the wheel that evening, but said he had settled with the owner on repairs.
The recall committee in Mahwah said that Roth's behavior had "diminished his ability to instill confidence in the public" and also has jeopardized the ability of township employees to feel comfortable at work.
"Bill Laforet was a disaster for Mahwah, attacking respected township employees for political retaliation, constantly fighting with the elected council, lying about his actions and siding with his political party for personal gain. However, we also must not accept the current status quo of irresponsible and unacceptable behavior by the current mayor," the committee said in its release.
The committee is urging Roth to “Please step aside. Please deal with your problem and allow Mahwah to move forward. No township employee can be expected to function comfortably in their place of employment if you remain as mayor. Please do what is best for Mahwah.”
A personal Facebook page held by Bill Laforet has been posting coverage of Roth's drunken scandal, including his reprimand from the Township Council on Feb. 6.
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