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Legal Battle Unfolds Over Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee Appointments

PARSIPPANY – A legal dispute erupted in the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee appointments, adding to the chaos following the tumultuous June primary. The controversy revolves around allegations of appointments to vacant positions within the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee.

Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee Chair Dee (Delores) dePierro and Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi were named in a lawsuit that they arranged for illegal appointments to vacant local County Committee seats ahead of the 2023 municipal reorganization meeting to obstruct the newly elected County Committee from conducting its operational tasks.

The lawsuit filed by Morris County Republican Committee (MCRC) challenges the legality of thirteen appointments by the current municipal chair, Dee dePierro, ahead of the party leadership election. Peter King, MCRC Vice Chairman, argues that Delores dePierro, Chairwoman Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee, lacked the authority to fill the vacancies independently, citing the party’s bylaws and state law.

Dee dePierro, a supporter of Mayor James Barberio, submitted the appointments to Morris County Elections, despite the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee bylaws stipulating that the entire organization should fill vacancies through a vote. dePierro contends that she has the authority to make such appointments, citing past practices of other municipal chairs.

The lawsuit filed in Morris County Superior Court alleges that these appointments were made surreptitiously to hinder the newly elected County Committee from carrying out its responsibilities. It claims that dePierro hand-picked her allies for the vacant county committee seats after learning of the competition between school board member Susy Golderer and Mayor Barberio for the position of Chairperson of the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee.

The legal challenge highlights that no meeting has been scheduled as required by the committee bylaws, which state that a meeting should be held seven days after the June 6 election. Despite the election results not being certified until later, dePierro made the appointments on June 15 without the necessary meeting, quorum, or vote by the county committee members. The lawsuit argues that this action violates the local county committee bylaws. Editor’s Note: Please be advised that New Jersey law now states the reorganization must be held within three Saturdays after the results are certified. In this case, the reorganization meeting should occur before or on Saturday, July 8.

The election wasn’t certified by Morris County Elections until June 19.

Parsippany comprises 39 voting districts, where Republican voters elect a male and a female candidate for each district, resulting in 78 committee members. However, only 63 positions were officially certified during the election process, leaving 15 seats vacant. Of these vacancies, thirteen were appointed by Dee dePierro and publicly announced on the Morris County Election website, which became a subject of the lawsuit. The remaining two vacant seats were intended for Ann and Nick Grossi, who had completed the necessary certification processes but declined to accept the appointment to the committee. (Click here for a roster of committee members as listed on the Morris County Elections website).

According to the complaint, the following were the illegally appointed members:

1. BettyLou DeCroce
2. Amanda McGrath
3. Jennifer Nazziola
4. Antonio Piccininni
5. Tina Piccininni
6. Annmarie Ferrara
7. David Kaplan
8. Loretta Gragnani
9. Kenneth Lambert
10. Joanne Krevis
11. Amanda Terpstra
12. Frank Neglia
13. John Beehler

Editors Note: After this article was published, it was learned that County Committee (male) for District 18 was awarded to John Beehler.  The primary election had two candidates running for that position, Mr. John Beyroutey, receiving 57 votes, and John Beehler, receiving 47.  Mr. Beyroutey was disqualified since he no longer lives within District 18.

In an interview with the New Jersey Globe, dePierro admitted to consulting with various individuals, including Mayor Barberio and her husband, Council Vice President Michael dePierro, and Council President Loretta Gragnani, to select appointees based on their preferences. This process bypassed the county committee bylaws and voting procedure. The selected appointment forms were notarized by Michael dePierro and accepted. The primary election was certified on June 19 by County Clerk Ann Grossi.

Grossi and her husband Nick were initially included in the process but were not posted on the County Election website, thus leaving two seats still vacant.

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio

“MCRC Chairwoman Laurie Ali and Vice Chairman Peter King are attempting to take over Parsippany with lies, deceit, and hypocrisy. When the Former Chairman Lou Valori appointed members, it was fine.  But when Chairwoman dePierro does the same thing, there’s a lawsuit. Parsippany should decide Parsippany’s business, not outsiders like Laura Ali and Peter King,” said Mayor James Barberio.

An anonymous county committee member alleged that Mayor Barberio colluded with dePierro to manipulate the situation, recognizing that he would not secure enough votes without their assistance.

In response to these developments, Candidate Susy Golderer called on Barberio to cease the illegal backfilling of Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee vacancies, criticizing the self-serving political maneuver as an embarrassment to the local party. Golderer urged unity among committee members for the betterment of the Parsippany Republican Party.

Morris County Superior Court Judge Stuart Minkowitz has been assigned to preside over the lawsuit, which will ultimately determine the validity of the Parsippany Republican Municipal Committee appointments and resolve the ongoing dispute. The hearing is scheduled for Friday, June 30, at 3:00 p.m.

After the case is resolved, Chairwoman Dee dePierro can arrange to have the committee meet and elect a new slate of officers, which according to the bylaws, must be on the first Monday following the primary election.

When this article was published, attorneys for the Defendants had not filed an answer with the Courts and weren’t available to Parsippany Focus.

 

 

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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