MAHWAH - A battle is brewing in Mahwah as citizens are banding together against the mayor.
“We feel as though our trust in our elected official has been betrayed,” says recall supporter Annette Freund.
Freund has already filed a motion to move ahead with a recall petition against Mayor Bill Laforet. Her supporters want a recall vote in November, even though the mayor’s term doesn't expire until 2016.
“We are frustrated because after three years of poor decisions and mismanagement we have decided to say enough,” says Freund.
Mayor Laforet says this is all about political retribution. He fired the Department of Public Works superintendent after pornography was found on a department computer. That superintendent was also the person the mayor defeated in the last election.
"We found on a hard drive a significant amount of inappropriate material," says Laforet. "I have a responsibility to the taxpayers. And I had to do what I had to do, and I stand by my decision."
The council later overturned the mayor's decision and reinstated the DPW superintendent. Meanwhile, the mayor's opponents also point to other issues to support a recall, such as excessive overtime by police officers in 2013. The mayor disputes that as well.
“The council themselves voted not once, but twice to approve that expenditure,” says Laforet. “So it's not like they didn't understand it or know what they were doing.”
The mayor will have a chance to write a rebuttal statement, which will be included on the recall petition.
Opponents will have to gather 4,000 signatures to force a recall vote in November.