Scutari supporters ask Judge for relief

Section 2

A group of Democrats are asking a Superior Court Judge to order acting Union County Democratic Chair Colleen Mahr to follow party rules in next week’s special election for county chairman.

The Democrats – all county committee members supporting State Sen. Nicholas Scutari — have accused Mahr of abusing her position by making decisions that are not consistent to the Union County Democratic Committee by-laws. They say Mahr has ordered voting machines, even though party rules say that voting should be done through an open ballot.

“Acting Chairwoman Mahr does not seem to be committed to a fair, orderly election. Instead, she seems intent on cementing her grip on power” said Rev. Reginald Atkins, of Roselle, one of the five plaintiffs. “The UCDCs rules are clear, and in violating them, she sows disruption and confusion at this meeting. People will not know whether to follow Ms. Mahr or follow the rules.”

Additional complainants are Union County Freeholder Bruce Bergen (D-Springfield); Louisa Bianco of Scotch Plains; Lourdes Leon of Elizabeth; and Kimberly J. Palmieri-Moulded of Westfield.

“The Union County Democratic Party must work as a team where all voices are heard and valued, not forced to play by whatever rules the Chair finds it convenient to follow or ignore,” said Leon. “Ms. Mahr’s undemocratic, unlawful actions open up the Democratic Party to legal scrutiny and it does not benefit our party members or future leaders to be involved in such a discourse.

Bianco, a former Scotch Plains council candidate, said that Mahr is “violating the rules that govern the process.”

The five Scutari backers are asking the court to require Mahr to step down as acting chair prior to the February 21 vote to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jerry Green for health reasons last month.

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