ORANGE, NJ — On Wednesday, Aug. 8, Orange City Clerk Joyce Lanier approved a petition to recall Mayor Dwayne Warren that had been filed by Orange Board of Education member Tyrone Tarver, Karen Wells and Katalin Gordon. According to Lanier, now that the petition has been approved, Tarver, Wells and Gordon have 160 days to get enough signatures on it to put the recall question to voters.
“They have 160 days,” said Lanier on Tuesday, Aug. 21. “They need 25 percent of registered voters in the last general election; approximately 4,052 signatures.”
The three are confident they can get the necessary signatures to recall Warren by Tuesday, Jan. 15, the 160-day deadline.
“I am serving as chairman of the committee to recall Dwayne D. Warren from the office of mayor of Orange Township, N.J.,” said Tarver on Monday, Aug. 13. “We have filed with the Orange township city clerk, Joyce Lanier, to circulate a petition to hold a special election for the recall of Mayor Dwayne D. Warren. To date, our notice of intention and petition to gather signatures have been approved by the city Clerk’s Office. In addition, Mayor Warren, the City Council and the other appropriate parties have all been notified of our petition by the city Clerk’s Office. An announcement of our filings was made during the Aug. 8 City Council meeting. We are now in the process of gathering the required amount of signatures to make the petition valid.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Warren administration acknowledged the recall effort.
“The administration is aware of the circulation of a recall petition,” said city spokesman and Information Technologies Director Keith Royster on Tuesday, Aug. 14. “Mayor Warren has always been a leader who leads our city through unity and citizen input. In the spirit of collaboration, the mayor asks any and all residents to join him in meeting the challenges we must face together, as one community. Those few individuals who want to engage in political theater choose to ignore the will of the people who voted in the 2016 municipal election.”
Warren won re-election to a second consecutive term in office as mayor in 2016 by defeating three challengers, including East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley and Janice Morrell, a South Ward resident and former Zoning Board member.
In that election, Warren received 1,921 votes; Coley had 1,256; and Morrell had 664, with one write-in vote. According to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin and the county Board of Elections website, there were 3,842 total votes cast in the 2016 citywide election.
“By statute, the required number of signatures is 25 percent of the total amount of registered voters who were eligible to vote in the preceding 2017 general election,” said Tarver on Monday, Aug. 13. “We have been notified by the city Clerk’s Office that, in November 2017, there were 16,206 registered voters. Therefore, the amount of signatures required to make our petition valid is approximately 4,052 signatures. Our committee has a 160-day deadline from the date of our petition approval to gather these signatures. After the amount of signature has been verified by the city Clerk’s Office, a special election will be scheduled to elect a mayor to complete the unexpired term through May 2020.”
Tarver said he’s confident they will be able to get the necessary signatures to recall Warren.
“We anticipate that we will collect the required number of signatures in the time allowed. This is due to the anger and frustration that exists in our community, because of the most recent string of revelations concerning the mismanagement and mishandling or our city’s finances and resources by this current mayor and administration,” Tarver said. “Within the last three months alone, Orange has had to deal with the unsettling news of a $7.1 million deficit; a very significant increase of property taxes; closing of city institutions, such as the Orange Recreation Center; the continuing FBI investigation and an additional FBI subpoena hidden from the public and city Clerk’s Office for one month; the possible closing of the Orange Public Library; and the unfortunate amount of violent crime that has created so much unrest throughout our neighborhoods.”