Mayor and Deputy Mayor Named in Former County Counsel's Lawsuit
Suit alleges that the Republicans' vote to replace former municipal judge David Lafferty was politically motivated.
A Montvale lawyer and Democratic contributor, who previously served as assistant county counsel, is suing both Mayor Jeanne Baratta and Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski for their votes earlier this year to replace her husband as Fair Lawn's municipal court judge.
Kelly Durkin, whom NorthJersey.com reported is also suing the county executive and former county counsel over her removal as assistant county counsel last July, alleges in the suit that Baratta and Trawinski opted not to re-appoint her husband, David Lafferty, as municipal court judge because of her ongoing dispute with the county.
Durkin, who had served as assistant county counsel for more than eight years under the previous Democratic regime, was relieved of her duties on July 8 of last year, six months after the Donovan regime took office.
She alleges that her firing was not performance-related and was instead the result of her actively campaigning for former County Executive Dennis McNerney, who opposed Kathleen Donovan in the 2010 County Executive race.
Trawinski said Tuesday that his vote to oust Lafferty as Fair Lawn's municipal court judge had nothing to do with Durkin's dispute with the county. In fact, he said he did not realize Durkin and Lafferty were married because they do not share the same last name. Rather, he said he voted to replace Lafferty -- whose appointment he had never supported -- because of the judge's history of political contributions.
From 2000 to 2005, Lafferty donated more than $22,000 to the Bergen County Democratic Organization, while his wife, Durkin, gave $17,800 to the BCDO between 2006 and 2007, according to campaign finance records.
Lafferty became the municipal court judge in 2006, the same year Fair Lawn enacted its original pay-to-play ordinance, which means his wife's contributions technically ran afoul of the law at the time. Due to a previous loophole in the ordinance, however, Lafferty would not have been prevented from serving as municipal judge as long as the position had been advertised.