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Judge to Rule on County Police Merger Challenge

Decision set for Friday afternoon.

A judge is expected to rule Friday afternoon on a suit filed by the Bergen County executive to block a ballot question asking if the county police should be merged with the sheriff’s office and an ordinance that would disband the police department. 

The f with an ordinance to dissolve the county police and a non-binding referendum on the proposed merger. County Executive challenged the votes, arguing the freeholders lacked authority to eliminate a county agency and the referendum vote was improper because it did not happen a regular board meeting.

Superior Court Judge Menelaos Toskos said Thursday the law required a referendum to be introduced at a regular meeting, northjersey.com reported. Freeholder Attorney Richard Malagiere argued the board tried to introduce the measures at a public meeting, but lacked quorum

Legal arguments focused on the power of the freeholders and county executive, the report said. Both sides agreed that the county executive and freeholders can’t unilaterally disband the department.

Referendums should come by ordinance, which the county executive can veto, Donovan Administration attorney Thomas Scrivo argued, according to an NJ.com report.

Toskos has denied Donovan’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the ordinance and resolution.

Freeholders have been holding a “listening tour” around the county to gather public input on the proposed merger. At but also sought more specifics.

Sheriff Michael Saudino told The Record the 89-member county police department could be folded into his agency at a cost savings and without layoffs, but offered no specifics.

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