2014-04-03 / Front Page

Democrats leave Guindi off slate for Borough Council seats

By JACQUELINE DURETT
Correspondent

SOUTH RIVER — Councilman Peter Guindi, whose term expires this year, said he has been informed that he will not receive his party’s support to run in this year’s election.

Guindi, who has been on the council for five years, said he was surprised to learn last week that he was not selected as one of the Democratic candidates for three available seats on the Borough Council.

“Everybody was under the impression that incumbents were going to be asked to run first,” he said. Guindi said he would have accepted the nomination to run again.

Tele Koukourdelis, chairman of the South River Democratic Organization, said the organization wanted to support other candidates and move in a different direction.

The party is lending its support to incumbent Thomas Roselli, who is currently serving as council president, and newcomers Jack Alai and Nicole Sansone.

The available seats belong to Guindi, Roselli and Republican Michael Trenga, who was appointed to the council after John Trzeciak resigned in January.

“I couldn’t be happier with the ticket this year,” Koukourdelis said in a statement. “These candidates bring with them a great deal of experience and fresh ideas, which will be extremely beneficial to South River.”

The Democratic organization said Roselli has “been at the forefront of holding departments accountable for spending and has championed new programs like Shop South River, a tax-discount program. Also, Tom reintroduced the sidewalk program, which has been beneficial to many residents.”

Alai and Sansone both have experience in running small businesses. Sansone also is the chairwoman of the borough’s Economic Development Commission. The party said she “has been working diligently on the downtown to help our businesses.” Alai, who has spoken at council meetings on behalf of the Coalition of Concerned South River Citizens, was unsuccessful last year in his first bid for a council seat.

As for Guindi, Koukourdelis said in an interview that the councilman screened with several members of the Democratic Party.

“After hearing him lay out his vision for South River, they unanimously chose to go in a different direction this year,” the party chairman said.

Guindi said he was told he is being forced out for not always voting the way the party wanted him to vote, and for not putting up enough of a fight against the Republicans.

Guindi said he still intends to run as a Democrat in the primary.

“I’m going to challenge it,” he said.

Guindi said he believes voters will support him as they have in the past. He added that he plans to make the most of the council meetings between now and the primary.

“I am a councilman for the town; I continue to work for the town,” he said.

Koukourdelis said the Democratic Party leadership is also eager to maximize the days before the election.

“I cannot wait to get this slate out talking to the voters,” he said. “True Democrats working as a team for the residents of our town.”

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