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Nicholas J. Sacco (born November 17, 1946) is an American Democratic Party politician, who has been serving in the New Jersey State Senate since 1994, where he represents the 32nd Legislative District. Sacco serves in the Senate as the Chairman of the Transportation Committee, and is also a member of the Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.[1] He concurrently serves as mayor of North Bergen as he is allowed to hold two offices under a grandfather clause in a bill that prohibited dual office holding.

Nicholas J. Sacco
2.11.15NicholasSaccoByLuigiNovi1.jpg
Sacco at a February 2015 job fair at
North Bergen Public Library
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 32nd Legislative District district
Assumed office
January 11, 1994
Preceded byThomas F. Cowan
Mayor of North Bergen
Assumed office
January 1, 1991
Preceded byLeo Gattoni
Personal details
Born (1946-11-17) November 17, 1946 (age 72)
Jersey City, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kathleen
Childrenone
ResidenceNorth Bergen
Alma materB.A. Rutgers University (History)
M.A. Seton Hall University (Administration and Supervision)
OccupationAssistant Superintendent of Schools; mayor, North Bergen, New Jersey; State Senator
WebsiteLegislative web page

Contents

Personal lifeEdit

Sacco was born in Jersey City on November 17, 1946. He grew up in West New York graduating from Memorial High School. Sacco received a B.A. in 1968 in History from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Administration and Supervision from Seton Hall University in 1973.[1][2] He is married to but does not reside with, the former Kathleen Ambrose since 1972 and together have one son, Nicholas J. Sacco, Jr., a vice-principal at North Bergen High School.[3]

In Dec 2011, a Secaucus woman accused Sacco of sexual harassment that occurred over a two year period starting in 2003. In addition, the woman revealed Sacco left threatening and insulting voicemail messages after rejecting his advances in a bar in February 2003.[4]

Political careerEdit

Sacco was first elected to the North Bergen Board of Commissioners in 1985 as a part of recall elections headed up by Leo Gattoni to clean out corrupt officials in the Township. In 1991, Gattoni retired from the Mayor's office and decided to endorse Sacco as mayor (in North Bergen, the mayor is chosen among members of the Board of Commissioners).[5] Sacco has been reelected every four years, most recently in May 2015.[6] Two years after becoming mayor, Sacco defeated incumbent State Senator Thomas F. Cowan in the Democratic primary election for the 32nd district.[7] He has also been overwhelmingly re-elected to this office since his first election as well.

In addition to serving as a State Senator and as mayor of North Bergen, Sacco previously served as the Director of Primary Education for the North Bergen School District, until his retirement from the position in 2017. [1] Sacco has been Principal of Horace Mann and Lincoln School in North Bergen, and former president and vice president of the North Bergen Council of Administrators and Supervisors which is affiliated with the New Jersey Education Association. He simultaneously holds a seat in the New Jersey Senate and as Mayor. This dual position, often called double dipping, is allowed under a grandfather clause in the state law enacted by the New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine in September 2007 that prevents dual-office-holding but allows those who had held both positions as of February 1, 2008, to retain both posts.[8]

Sacco is a sponsor of the state's Urban Enterprise Zone legislation, which has helped foster private business investment in urban centers and generates millions of dollars in revenue for North Bergen and other cities.[9] Sacco has also sponsored legislation expanding the use of DNA testing in criminal cases, by having DNA collected from individuals convicted of disorderly conduct offenses that could be compared against databases to help close unsolved crime cases.[10] Sacco has a pro-life voting record in the Senate as reported by the Democrats for Life of America.[11]

In 2012 the Hudson Reporter named him #1 in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.[12] In 2013 and 2014, he was ranked #3 (the first of which tied him with Senate colleague and Union City mayor Brian P. Stack),[13][14] and #4 in 2015.[15]

Criticism and legal issuesEdit

Allegations of sexual harassmentEdit

The Nicholas Sacco Administration has been marred by sexual harassment complaints. In 2009 Sacco was sued by April Tricoli when she claimed that he made lewd comments to her and engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment. The case was settled for $90,000.00.[16]

In 2011 another woman, Lydia Coleman, came forward and claimed that the State Senator sexually harassed her by leaving violent and sexually depraved voice mails on her answering machine.  The voice mails called her a retard and a scumbag and threatened her job with the North Bergen Board of Education if she did not provide for the State Senator sexually. Ms. Coleman, filed an ethics complaint against the Senator/Mayor, which was dismissed because of the statute of limitations involving ethics complaints.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Corruption and nepotismEdit

Sacco has been accused of engaging in wide spread corruption and nepotism by having many of his family members on the payroll. Sacco has over 10 relatives on the Board of Education payroll and has over 11 close friends on the payroll. The result is that his family and friends earn over $1.5 million per year from the Board of Education.  The matter is currently under investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations.[23][24]

SalaryEdit

Sacco has often been critiqued for being one of the highest paid politicians in the State of New Jersey.  Sacco regularly held made positions in the Board of Education paying over $200,000.00 per year. In addition to his functions as a Mayor and State Senator, Sacco earned over $300,000.00. In 2014 Governor Christie openly stated that salaries such as Sacco’s which exceeded the Governor’s salary were absurd and needed to be investigated.[25][26]

Housing Authority corruptionEdit

In 2018 it was alleged by NBC news that Sacco was using the North Bergen Housing Authority which houses seniors and financially struggling people for political purposes. It was alleged that Sacco’s driver, Geoffery Santini, had a no show job and was often seen driving Sacco around when he was supposed to be working. Santini was fired after the NBC probe, and filed his own suit alleging widespread corruption in the Housing Authority.[27]

Teachers forced to campaignEdit

Sacco has been accused of protecting his political machine by illegally using and pressuring school teachers to campaign and donate money.  It has been alleged that if teachers do not donate money or participate in the campaign that their jobs, promotions, and salary increases are in jeopardy.  Forcing teachers to engage in politics and donate money is illegal. As of December 2018, the matter is under investigation.[28][29][30]

Power plantEdit

In 2018, Sacco approved a fracking power plant in North Bergen, which would deliver energy to New York City, and not New Jersey. Opponents stated would harm air quality and increase New Jersey's contribution to global warming.[31] None of the Meadowlands towns in Hudson County — Kearny, Jersey City, Secaucus took a public stance on the issue. Though the project is enthusiastically promoted heavily by Sacco, it is opposed by mayors from other towns and local people, who anticipate that the it will increase cancer rates in and around North Bergen, New Jersey. The power plant will not provide power to North Bergen, but will provide power to New York City and New York State. It is anticipated that the power plant will bring in millions in revenue to North Bergen. Governor Phil Murphy who was supported by Sacco, has not commented on about the power plant. The project is also opposed by numerous environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club.[32][33][34][35][36]

School referendumEdit

In 2018, Sacco and the school board proposed building a new high school on Tonnelle Avenue, where there have been numerous fatal traffic accidents.[37][38][39][40][41]

The referendum was passed in violation of the Open Public Meetings Act and was done clandestinely. The town wanted to raise $60 million dollars with the referendum to retrofit an old building, rather than build a new school. The project was widely criticized in the local media and the Jersey Journal wrote an editorial against the project.[42] Mario M. Blanch, Esq. filed an application to stop the project, which was denied by the Superior Court, and is currently under appeal.[43]

District 32Edit

Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 32nd district for the 2014-2015 Legislative Session are:[44]

Election historyEdit

New Jersey State Senate elections, 2013[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nicholas J. Sacco (incumbent) 20,098 70.2
Republican Paul Castelli 8,542 29.8
Democratic hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nicholas J. Sacco (incumbent) 16,413 83.2
Republican Edward T. O’Neill 3,312 16.8
Democratic hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2007[47]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Nicholas Sacco 16,780 82.8
Republican John Pluchino 3,474 17.2
Democratic hold

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Senator Sacco's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed April 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey - Two Hundred and Eleventh Legislature (First Session) (PDF). Skinder-Strauss Associates. 2004. p. 239. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  3. ^ North Bergen High School 2013-2014 Student Handbook (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Renshaw, Jarrett. "Secaucus woman accuses state Sen. Nicholas Sacco of sexual harassment". New Jersey Real-Time News. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Hague, Jim (November 16, 2001). "Former Mayor Gattoni dies Long-time politician, 87, served township for 50 years". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  6. ^ Herzog, Laura. (May 12, 2015). "After 24 years in office, North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco is victorious again". NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  7. ^ "Official List Primary Election Returns for the Office of Senate and Assembly" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. August 3, 1993. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  8. ^ via Associated Press. "N.J. Lawmakers keep double dipping". WPVI-TV, March 4, 2008. Accessed June 4, 2009.
  9. ^ Hague, Jim (March 22, 2005). "North Bergen's UEZ has a new home Office set up on Broadway, in heart of zone". Hudson Reporter. Accessed June 25, 2012. "Ever since North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco first introduced legislation 10 years ago, in his role as a state senator, that began the process to have Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) in many of the state's major cities and towns as a way to increase business sales while helping to beautify the community, the North Bergen UEZ has been operating out of Town Hall, but was really without an identity."
  10. ^ Hack, Charles. "State Sen. Nicholas Sacco introduces bill to collect DNA samples from all convicted of disorderly persons offenses", The Jersey Journal, March 21, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2012. "Convicted shoplifters and others guilty of disorderly persons offenses would be forced to submit a DNA sample to authorities under new legislation proposed by Sen. Nicholas J. Sacco, D-North Bergen. The goal of the bill, which was introduced in Trenton yesterday, is to reduce the number of unsolved crimes, according to Sacco, who is also North Bergen’s mayor."
  11. ^ "PRO-LIFE DEMOCRAT OF THE WEEK" (Press release). Democrats for Life of America. 2012. Archived from the original on July 5, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Adriana Rambay Fernández, Stephen LaMarca, Gennarose Pope, Ray Smith, Al Sullivan and E. Assata Wright. "They've Got the Power". The Union City Reporter. January 8, 2012. Pages 1, 4-7 and 10-11.
  13. ^ Cruz, Vanessa; DeChiaro, Dean; Rambay Fernandez, Adriana; Palasciano, Amanda; Sullivan, Al; Wright, E. Assata (January 13, 2013). "Power Surge". The Union City Reporter. pp. 1, 5-7, 10.
  14. ^ DeChiaro, Dean; Sullivan, Al (February 2, 2014). "The 'Power List'". The Union City Reporter. p. 6.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Al; Davis, Carlo; Schwartz, Art; Passantino, Joseph (January 18, 2015). The Union City Reporter, pp 1, 5, 9, 12
  16. ^ "Ex-North Bergen employee, who filed sexual harassment lawsuit, among 5 seeking to unseat Mayor Sacco". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  17. ^ Hudson County Hades North Bergen New Jersey (2015-05-26), News12 Kane In Your Corner Senator Nicholas Sacco Sexual Harassment, retrieved 2019-02-24
  18. ^ "Secaucus woman accuses state Sen. Nicholas Sacco of sexual harassment". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  19. ^ "Secaucus woman accuses state Sen. Nicholas Sacco of sexual harassment". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  20. ^ The Good Government Team (2015-04-16), Sacco Sexual Harassment, retrieved 2019-02-24
  21. ^ "Ex-North Bergen township recreation employee files state ethics complaint against Sacco". Observer. 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  22. ^ nbcorruption (2011-12-29), Nick Sacco's Threatening Voice Mails for Lydia Coleman, retrieved 2019-02-24
  23. ^ Dienst, Jonathan; Paredes, David; Alexiades, Isabel; Rosenzweig, Sophie; Stein, Mara. "North Bergen Mayor's Family Deepens Hold on Town Admin". NBC New York. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  24. ^ Friedman, Matt. "Ten Sacco relatives get public paychecks". POLITICO. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  25. ^ August 30, Posted; August 30, 2017 at 11:57 AM | Updated; PM, 2017 at 03:41. "Here's how much Hudson County's 12 mayors make each year". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  26. ^ "These NJ mayors make 6-figure salaries from taxpayers. Is yours one of them?". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  27. ^ Dienst, Jonathan; Paredes, David. "Ex-Housing Director in NJ Sues After Being Fired". NBC New York. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  28. ^ "NBC4 I-Team Report Focuses On North Bergen Teachers' Contributions". Insider NJ. 2018-12-05. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  29. ^ "Ex-North Bergen teacher: I was forced to campaign for Sacco (VIDEO)". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  30. ^ View, Hudson County (2017-02-27). "LETTER: North Bergen teachers should blame Sacco for contract dispute". Hudson County View. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  31. ^ "Meadowlands mayors to proposed power plant: We don't want you". North Jersey. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  32. ^ Fallon, Scott; Burrow, Megan. "Phil Murphy remains quiet as opposition grows toward Meadowlands power plant". North Jersey. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  33. ^ Mota, Caitlin Mota (July 9, 2018). "North Bergen power plant proposal clears first hurdle". NJ.com. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  34. ^ Fallon, Scott (April 10, 2018). "New power plant for Meadowlands? Company wants to make electricity in NJ for NYC". North Jersey. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  35. ^ "Stop the Meadowlands Power Plant". Sierra Club. July 31, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  36. ^ "Home". Stop the Meadowlands Power Plant. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  37. ^ Johnson, Eric. "NJ's Most Dangerous Intersections". New Jersey 101.5. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  38. ^ "Prosecutor: Mom Killed In North Bergen Hit-And-Run". 2019-02-21. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  39. ^ "North Bergen hit and run throws man 100 feet in the air, leaving him in critical condition". NJ.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  40. ^ "Second teen dies in Jersey City hit-and-run; driver ID'd". WPIX 11 New York. 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  41. ^ "ABC7NY". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  42. ^ "Reject North Bergen bonding referendum | Jersey Journal editorial". nj.com. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  43. ^ Heinis, John (2018-12-07). "Judge dismisses Wainstein's suit to postpone North Bergen school referendum". Hudson County View. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  44. ^ "Legislative Roster 2014-2015 Session". New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  45. ^ "Official List Candidates for State Senate For GENERAL ELECTION 11/05/2015 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 4, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  46. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2011 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 14, 2011. Accessed May 2, 2012.
  47. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2007 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 3, 2007. Accessed June 25, 2012.

External linksEdit

New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
Thomas F. Cowan
Member of the New Jersey Senate for the 32nd District
January 11, 1994 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Leo Gattoni
Mayor of North Bergen, New Jersey
January 1, 1991 – present
Succeeded by
Incumbent