Hamburg mayor accuses councilman of end-run in appointment

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    HAMBURG-For more than a decade, say Hamburg lawmakers, they have been trying to get a borough representative on the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority's board of commissioners. They have one now, but it's not the one they wanted. After submitting Mayor Paul Marino's name as a candidate to the Board of Chosen Freeholders, which makes the appointments, most of the council thought they had the representative they wanted. Marino and other council members expressed shock to find that fellow Hamburg Councilman Joseph Marano, unbeknownst to them, had applied for - and was awarded - the seat. "We are trying to work as a team, and he has his own agenda," said Hamburg Mayor Paul Marino of Marano. "We have been trying for 11 years for a seat on SCMUA and have suggested several candidates in the past years. Joe Marano decided to go on alone." A year ago, the council submitted the names of five candidates, and this year Marino's name was also submitted. With Hamburg's goal to finally have representation in the organization that they were founding members, Marino said, "Freeholders have to realize they have to listen to the towns. They don't have a clue of what's going on in the little towns; they don't look out for our needs." Marano was confronted by the mayor with the question of whether he had submitted his name as a candidate, and according to Marino, "All the time he denied he was doing it, Joe lied to Council. He decided to go on his own." When asked to respond to the mayor's comments, Marano said, "The mayor never asked if I wanted the job. The mayor knew I always wanted it." He added, "It wasn't up to the Council. The mayor was doing all the talking. I certainly didn't influence how they (freeholders) voted." He went on to say, "The mayor wanted the job, and he didn't get it. I have no control who they appoint, and I'm lucky enough to get it. I'm happy to be appointed, and I'll do my best." Councilwoman Ginny Gorman was distressed over a lack of procedural protocol as she "found out through the back door." She was called by a newspaper reporter asking for a comment on the appointment. She said that earlier a freeholder reported the board had a name because somebody sent in a letter, "and it wasn't the name we sent in. We asked Joe and he point-blank said no. We were under the impression that they wanted our input." Supporting the mayor's comments, she said, "At least 4-5 times, we submitted names in the past. This year, we have given the mayor's name because due to a change in work, he would now be able to attend meetings." Gorman said further, "The newspaper cited ‘lack of communication,' but that's not it. We submit a name, and two days later Joe submits his own name. It's not that he can't do the job, but be honest and say you want the job. "Nothing against Joe, we just felt there were more qualified candidates. We really have been pushing for years for a representative on the board, and we're glad they finally chose someone from Hamburg. They (freeholders) told us we were going to get the next open seat. Since we were one of the founders of the authority we should be part of the decision-making process." Gorman's final comment was, ‘The mayor is just disappointed. It seems that not everybody is playing by the same rules."