A group of residents again called on 6th Ward Councilwoman Nadine Bello to resign her seat at Wednesday night's council meeting.
Bello, who is running for reelection this year, has been mired in controversy for several weeks since her husband, Jerry Bello, as chairman of the Wayne Environmental Commission Sept. 8.
Jerry Bello resigned in the wake of a lawsuit that claimed he should not have been allowed to serve on the commission due to a criminal conviction in 1994. He was convicted of official misconduct for taking bribes while he was chairman of the Paterson Improvement Authority and was sentenced to four years probation and served 300 days in jail.
The suit was filed against the township by resident Bill Brennan, a candidate for Assembly, who cited a state law that prohibits individuals convicted of a crime from serving in government.
Brennan has led the charge in demanding that Nadine Bello also resign, claiming she knew of Bello’s conviction when he was appointed to the commission and failed to inform township officials.
"I think she should resign," said Suzanne Pudup, an at-large candidate in this year's election.
Other residents said they want Bello to be honest about whether she knew about her husband's criminal record before he joined the commission. Bello has not commented publicly on the calls for her resignation and has continued with her reelection campaign. She gave an impassioned speech in support of her husband at a council meeting earlier in the month.
"You're going to have to come clean," resident Michael Fautau said to the councilwoman. "Did you back his appointment to the commission? Come clean tonight. Speak up."
At Wednesday's meeting, several people on one side of the room applauded each time someone spoke in support of Bello resigning. Council President Joseph Schweighardt banged his gavel several times and had to silence the crowd.
But some people who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting supported the councilwoman.
“She’s done a phenomenal job representing [us],” said 6th Ward resident Rex Miatke.
Brennan unsuccessfully ran for council three times on the Democratic ticket. He is running against Republican incumbent Assemblyman Scott Rumana in the 40th Legislative District race this year.