LIVINGSTON — On Tuesday, May 4, Team Barberio held its first $900 per-person fundraiser at Nero’s Grille in Livingston. The gathering featuring a prime rib dinner included Parsippany’s former Township Attorney John Inglesino, Ryan D. Graham, Director of Business Development for Fairview Insurance Agency, and dozens of other professionals who served the township under Barberio during his initial eight years as mayor. Fairview Insurance handled Parsippany’s Employee Benefits.
In the Republican Primary to be held on Tuesday, June 8, Team Barberio which includes Barberio for Mayor and council candidates Frank Neglia and Deborah Orme will face off against mayoral candidate Lou Valori and his team of council candidates Justin Musella and Gary Martin. Also running for council is former Council Vice President Robert Peluso.
In 2017, Peluso challenged Barberio in the primary and lost. Then in the general election, Barberio lost to the current Mayor Michael Soriano, by approximately 800 votes.
The winner of the Republican primary will face off Soriano and his council candidates Cori Herbig and Judy Hernandez during the General Election in November.
Since leaving office, Barberio was the Business Administrator in Englewood Cliffs. His reappointment was rejected in 2019 by the council, which was made up of five Democrats and just one Republican.
He then surfaced in Hunterdon County, where he is the administrator in two towns – Tewksbury and Lebanon. He splits his time between both. Ironically Justin Marchetta, of the law firm Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor was appointed Township Attorney in 2020.
As for the mayor’s race in general, former county freeholder John Cesaro was at one time considered a candidate. But that ended when Cesaro was charged by the state Attorney General’s Office with accepting bribes from a “cooperating witness” who wanted legal work if indeed Cesaro became mayor. That case remains pending.
Back in early February 2020 current Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano gave his “state of the township” address. It wasn’t remarkably divisive, although the mayor did criticize the tax policies of Barberio. He said that when the GOP ran the show, property tax increases were avoided in 2013 and 2017, two election years. But this had nothing to do with fiscal prudence, just politics. Soriano asserted that artificially avoiding increases in election years just means the bill has to be paid later.
“Barberio held the first event as a mayoral candidate is a high-dollar fundraiser located in Essex County. It makes me wonder how passionate he is about taking this seat back from the Mayor he lost it to in 2017,” said Robert Blake in an email to Parsippany Focus. “Parsippany businesses are hurting as a result of the pandemic. We have a multitude of options right here in the township that would suit any type of political event. Hosting his kickoff event in Livingston is a slap in the face to the hardworking business owners of Parsippany who have been hanging by a thread for over a year now.”
Parsippany Focus reached out to Barberio but he didn’t answer our questions.