In a turbulent political landscape, Assemblyman Reginald Atkins emerged victorious once again as the chairman of the Roselle Democratic Committee, as he is forging unity among supporters of Mayor Donald Shaw and former Assemblyman Jamel Holley to make the Democratic Party stronger.
The re-election comes amidst controversy, legal battles, and allegations of power plays within the party, but it signifies a commitment to unity and progress within the Roselle Democratic Party.
The recent organizational meeting of the Roselle Democratic Committee, chaired by Union County Democratic Chair Nicholas “No-Show Nick” Scutari, unfolded with intense drama as factions clashed over party leadership.
The Atkins team, which includes former Assemblyman Jamel Holley, emerged victorious once more, securing their positions within the committee.
Councilwoman Denise Wilkerson and Councilman Brendan Bernier, who have been sowing division in furtherance of state Senator Joe Cryan’s scheme to diminish African-American power by factionalizing the Black community, faced another defeat.
Former Mayor Christine Dansereau did not mince words in her assessment of the situation.
Dansereau criticized Wilkerson and Bernier for their contentious approach, stating that they, “are an embarrassment to your title. Instead of fighting for power, try actually working for the residents you represent.”
“The Roselle Democratic meeting was held tonight and chaired by the Union County Democratic Chair Senator Nick Scutari,” said Dansereau. “Every ‘i’ was dotted and every ‘T’ was crossed and the results turned out the same as the prior meeting, with the Atkins team being victorious and the Wilkerson / Bernier Team losing.”
The legal battle stemming from the contentious meeting has further exacerbated tensions within the party. Councilwoman Wilkerson and Councilman Bernier, along with Union County Democratic Committee candidate Johnny Davis, filed a lawsuit against the Roselle Democratic Committee, alleging improprieties in the organizational meeting.
However, their claims found little traction in fact but the court ordered a new reorganization meeting.
Atkins, who has a long history of successful leadership within the Roselle Democratic Party, defended the process, saying, “At the end of the day, we followed a fair process. It’s all about unity, and it’s unfortunate that not everybody wants it.”
Atkins’ efforts to unite the party by bringing former Assemblyman Jamel Holley, a primary challenger, into the fold have been met with resistance from Senator Joe Cryan and his supporters.
Cryan’s initial call for party unity has seemingly shifted as the Roselle Democratic Party actually makes strides toward reconciliation.
Atkins sees his role as a unifying force in Roselle’s politics.
“We keep saying we’re stronger together. This was a way to bring people together. It can’t be about one person. It has to be about the town moving forward,” he emphasized.
The reorganization meeting resulted in the election of key party positions, with Garrett Smith, Cynthia Johnson, Demetria Demoleas, Lisa Palin, Rev. Charles Mitchell, and Cynthia Atkins all securing roles within the Roselle Democratic Committee.
Despite the controversy and legal battles that have unfolded, it is clear that Assemblyman Reginald Atkins remains committed to fostering unity within the Roselle Democratic Party, with the ultimate goal of advancing the interests of the community.
In a borough where politics is currently mired in controversy and power struggles, the re-election of Atkins signals a continued commitment to the democratic process and the betterment of Roselle.
However, borough offices have been depleted by resignations, firings, and suspensions leaving the part-time elected officials, Bernier and Wilkerson, in a position to vastly exceed their authority.
Police Chief Stacey Williams was secretly suspended in order to head off a potential disclosure of criminal behavior among political insiders and the Fire Chief has put in for an extended sick leave while the Business Administrator, Chief Financial Officer, Superintendent of Public Works, Building Inspector, Zoning Officer, and Code Enforcement Supervisor are all gone.
Staff are being terminated or forced out of their jobs so that Bernier and Wilkerson may replace them with politically connected people who are less qualified but more loyal to Cryan and his minions.
The process has not gone smoothly, as there are seven lawsuits filed over improper treatment of public employees that subject taxpayers to millions of dollars in liability but as elected officials, Cryan, Bernier, and Wilkerson are protected by immunity shields.