It was, at times, a contentious election. It seemed it might even be a squeaker. But in the end, it was a complete and utter blowout for the Lyndhurst Unity Team, led by Mayor Robert B. Giangeruso, which had a “clean sweep” of the Clean Sweep ticket, led by town gadfly David Sivella.
The Unity ticket won all five seats in the May 11, 2021, election for the Lyndhurst Board of Commissioners, with Giangeruso garnering the most votes. In vote order, he was followed by Commissioner John J. Montillo Jr., Commissioner Richard L. Jarvis Sr., Louis DeMarco (a newcomer) and Commissioner Karen Haggerty.
Darius Hughes, an independent candidate who wagered what could only be described as a quiet campaign, garnered more votes at 988 than any of the five on Sivella’s Clean Sweep ticket.
At 836 votes, Elaine Stella was the closest to winning on the Sweep team, though with 836 votes, she was nearly 1,000 ticks off the mark (Haggerty won a seat, finishing in fifth place, with 1,809 votes.) Sivella, meanwhile, finished in eighth-place overall — second on his ticket — with 781 votes.
(N.B.: All results are unofficial until they are certified by the Bergen County clerk.)
The top five vote-getters win seats in this form of government and elections.
As the recipient of the most votes, Giangeruso will continue to serve as mayor and commissioner of public safety. Lyndhurst voters do not vote, per-se, for the mayor; instead, they vote for commissioners and the mayor is chosen by the commissioners themselves when they reorganize, with the top vote recipient generally being selected.
The five winners were to be sworn at a ceremony at noon, Tuesday, May 18, at Township Hall, with DeMarco taking the seat occupied by retiring Commissioner Thomas DeMaggio.
The Observer spoke with Giangeruso the morning after the election. He was elated and optimistic about his team’s victory and what lies ahead in the next four years.
“It was a tough election, at times, intense,” Giangeruso said. “But I am very humbled by the trust the people of Lyndhurst put in me and our entire team. We’ve done some great things already and in the next few years, we will continue to do the same. I cannot thank the people of Lyndhurst enough for what they’ve said by sending us back.”
We asked Giangeruso, entering his fifth term as a commissioner (he was first elected in 2005 and then again in 2009, 2013, 2017 and now 2021) and third as mayor (he became mayor in 2013, following former Mayor Richard DiLascio’s decision not to seek re-election that year), to comment on his main challenger, Sivella, and whether he believed this election spelled the end of his ire.
“We certainly hope so,” Giangeruso said.
Giangeruso has oft been the target of Sivella’s vitriol on a website the man runs. However, just about an hour after the election results were announced on Election Day, that site was completely shut down, as was the Facebook page for the entire Clean Sweep ticket.
Sivella, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment. He did, nonetheless, comment for another media outlet, where he said: “We respect Lyndhurst voters and their decision for the direction they want for their town.”
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.