At last night’s municipal reorganization meeting, First Ward Councilman Eugene Meola confirmed that he has changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Independent. This was publicly brought to light when former Mayor Joseph DeIorio spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“I was also told today that I had had a conversation with Councilman Meola about party affiliation and I wanted to clarify that,” said Mr. DeIorio, “He’s not a Republican nor is he a Democrat at this point. I just want to put that out there, just to set the record straight.”
As of yet, the Union County Board Of Elections has not received Mr. Meola’s filing.
When asked as for the reason, Councilman Meola stated, “It’s been frustrating me all year… At every turn, not allowing me to speak my mind or have an opinion that’s outside of the Democratic Committee so I decided to step away.”
Mr. Meola’s decision played a role in votes that overrode appointments by Mayor Hokanson and the selection of vendors for professional services. Councilman Meola and Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey voted with 3rd Ward Councilman William Fahoury and 5th Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley – both Republicans – to have a majority on votes for council president, Clean Communities coordinator, labor attorney, municipal prosecutor, Joint Meeting of Essex & Union County representative, and liaisons to other committees. Councilwoman Storey is a registered Democrat but in August of last year, Roselle Park Democratic Committee (RPDC) Dan Petrosky publicly stated that she was removed from the Democratic Committee.
This is the first time in the 21st century in Roselle Park that a sitting elected official has revoked political party affiliation and declared him or herself Independent. The last time a sitting official switched political parties was when Richard Templeton switched from Republican to Democrat five days after being sworn into office in 2015.