At least 151 people signed up to speak at a meeting of the governing body to demand the resignation of City Councilwoman Amy DeGise, after the Jersey City politician failed to stop when the vehicle she was driving rammed into a bicyclist.
DeGise was seen plowing into cyclist Andrew Black, 29, and driving away on video from a traffic camera that has gone viral. She then waited about six hours to report the incident.
DeGise “is not a victim” Carolyn Rommel, who was one of dozens at the session who said that the councilwoman should step down after being exposed for taking six hours to report her involvement in a hit-and-run with a bicyclist.
The video shows that DeGise did not step on the brakes or show any concern for Black after she sent him flying through the air, his bicycle demolished, after she sped into him with her SUV.
At least 6,494 have signed a petition started by Megan Carolan that is titled: Councilwoman DeGise Must Resign NOW.
“Amy DeGise, at-large Councilmember, hit a cyclist at speed and then left the scene,” said Carolan. “Video footage shows us she made no effort to avoid the cyclist, to slow down after impact, or to stop to check on him and file a police report.”
“The cyclist running the red light does not change anything about DeGise’s responsibility to the victim and to the law,” said Carolan. “DeGise should have resigned as soon as this news came out. She must resign now and the Mayor and councilmembers must call publically for her resignation.”
“DeGise has the hefty task of representing the full city and the best interests of all its residents,” said Carolan. “By striking and abandoning one of those residents, in a time of crisis, she has shown she cannot be trusted to put the well-being of residents first. To hit a constituent and leave them speaks to a deeply troubling level of self-preservation instinct, and one that has no place in public service.”
“Staying at the scene is an act of responsibility, and humanity towards the victim – not to mention, a driver’s legal obligation,” said Carolan.
“I am disgusted that other Councilmembers and the Mayor – who ran DeGise on his slate in this most recent election – have not encouraged her resignation,” said Carolan. “While the justice system moves slowly forward on this crash, DeGise’s actions will be a distraction from urgent matters facing our city.”
DeGise is the daughter of powerful Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, a close associate of congressional candidate Robert Menendez, Jr., and the chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Gov. Phil Murphy joined the Hudson County Executive at the Hudson County Community College to announce a loan program, where DeGise acknowledged that he will be retiring at the end of 2023 after over two decades in the job.
The Governor, who has previously called for the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso, Trenton Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, appointees on the board of the Economic Development Authority, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino, but he has refused to expressly demand that DeGise step down.
“It is a sign of how divorced the political establishment is from the electorate that neither Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop nor Governor Phil Murphy has called on Councilwoman Amy DeGise to resign,” said progressive Democrat Lisa McCormick. “Only two members of the Jersey City council have actually made that demand while thousands of ordinary citizens believe she cannot represent them with such a cavalier disrespect for human life.”
“I don’t think she has the trust of the public right,” said Jersey City Councilman James Solomon, one of two colleagues that say she should resign. “She’s going to pass laws that raise taxes, that send people to jail, that effect their life and they’re going to look and say ‘do you have to follow the same rules that I do?'”
With about 6,500 predominantly low-income students and a 19 percent graduation rate, Hudson County Community College has a policy of accepting all students who apply but the institution is also a cesspool of corruption as a key part of the patronage system used to reward political supporters with government jobs, contracts, and other fringe benefits.
“That patronage is both the root of power and one of the biggest complaints against the political establishment that Murphy and other insiders fear to cross. In a system dependent almost entirely on money, citizens will have almost no voice until they hold officials accountable,” said McCormick, the only Democrat in the state with the courage to challenge Senator Robert Menendez after his brobery and corruption scandal was exposed. “I keep saying that Americans must rise to the responsibility of citizenship. Maybe having a heartless killer on the council will wake them up.”
“It will take months for this case to move forward, months that the Council will continue to meet and vote,” said Carolan. “It is inappropriate to have Councilmember DeGise participating in those votes when it is clear she puts her own interests above those of residents.”
“Councilmember “DeGise should have already chosen to step down as the only honorable action,” said Carolan. “But she has already shown us that she cherishes her own ambitions above the well-being of residents. Now, her colleagues must urge her resignation publically so the Council can return to the business of the people. Silence is complicit, and will not be forgotten in (the) campaign season.”
“For those who call for my resignation, you are heard and I understand that you have concerns and questions that I respect and would enjoy any type of dialogue or discussion with you after I go to court,” said DeGise, who doubled down on her decision not to resign.
In her remarks, the councilwoman suggested she was a victim in the situation.
“I do not identify with the perception that you have of me, but adversity does make us work harder,” said DeGise. “To those of you who believe in me, thank you. And to those of you who don’t, thank you for making me want to be a better leader.”
“This has only made me stronger and I will use that strength to fight for the issues that help every resident,” said DeGise. “I remain committed to this position on the council, no matter your perception of me. Please know that my commitment is genuine, as is my love for Jersey City, and it is as strong as ever.”