WEST WILDWOOD — Borough Clerk Dorothy Tomlin has set Feb. 23 as the date for the recall election of Mayor Herbert Frederick, but Frederick is challenging Tomlin’s decision to set a date for the recall and the validity of the recall petitions.
Tomlin said Tuesday that the recall election date, originally set by her for Jan. 26, was moved to February because the earlier date did not allow enough time for other candidates to file to run for Frederick’s seat. She said candidates have until 4 p.m. Dec. 31 to file petitions to appear on the ballot. They must collect 25 signatures and be registered voters in the borough for one year.
Frederick, meanwhile, has filed a lawsuit against Tomlin and the recall committee members, Jacquelyn Ferentz, William M. Null and Robert W. Feltwell. Ferentz is currently suspended without pay from the borough’s Police Department, while Null and Feltwell are former public works employees.
The lawsuit, filed in Cape May County Superior Court, charges that Tomlin “motivated by political favoritism and cronyism, conspired” with the recall committee “to cause a procedurally and substantively defective petition seeking Mayor Frederick’s recall to be certified.”
The lawsuit alleges that Tomlin violated Frederick’s right to due process by certifying the petitions and setting a date for the recall election
State law allows for the contesting of the decision of recall officials within 10 business days of the decision being issued on a petition.
Interim Deputy Clerk Richard Deaney deemed the recall petitions invalid while Tomlin was no longer performing the clerk’s duties. She had been removed from acting as clerk by Frederick. She was reinstated as clerk by a Superior Court ruling on Nov. 2.
Once Tomlin returned to work, she certified the recall petition and set the date of the election.
The lawsuit alleges Tomlin rushed to set a recall election for Frederick while ignoring a recall petition filed against her “political ally” Commissioner Scott Golden.
On Tuesday, Tomlin said the petition seeking Golden’s recall had “a lot of issues” and that it was turned in to Deaney and not to her.
Tomlin said she sent a letter to the committee that was trying to recall Golden to resolve those issues, but has yet to hear back from the committee.
She said that at this point it is unlikely Golden’s recall could appear on the same ballot as Frederick’s. That recall election, she said, is expected to cost about $14,000.
Frederick’s lawsuit seeks to stop his recall election and have the recall petitions deemed invalid.
Frederick is also seeking unspecified damages.
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