In a confounding letter to the editor sent to local news outlet TAPinto, Sussex County Freeholder Josh Hertzberg has made the declaration that he will be pursuing election to the Sparta Township Council this November. The announcement was made despite assuming his role on the Board of Chosen Freeholders on January 1, 2019 – only 18 months after his oath and his promise to serve Sussex County residents. The duration of Hertzberg’s term was slated to continue until December 31, 2021.
What seems to be a clear declaration of candidacy, Hertzberg made the following statements in his letter:
“I can no longer, in good conscience, continue to dedicate my time and energies to the work of the county when I feel that my own hometown needs me more at this point in time.”
“I want to serve where I feel like I can be most effective and, right now, I feel like that’s in Sparta. It’s for all of these reasons that I have decided to run for Sparta Township Council this coming November.”
Prior to commencing his Freeholder position in 2019, Hertzberg served as the Mayor of Sparta Township for the year 2018.
If Freeholder Hertzberg is relinquishing his current role on the Board of Chosen Freeholders prior to the official expiration of his term in an attempt to return to a municipal government position (which, it seems, was not made clear in his letter purposely), this will allow for the remainder of the Freeholder Board to appoint a person of their choosing to replace him. This will set in motion the presence of an unelected individual to participate in our county government – the main governing body responsible for facilitating and maintaining daily functioning within our community -- without input or proper vetting from the voting public.
The Sussex County Democratic Committee hopes that Mr. Hertzberg will act with responsibility and professionalism by removing himself from the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders immediately if he truly feels, as he states, “that my own hometown needs me more” and that he “can’t let another election further erode what we worked so hard to build in Sparta.” By failing to select one or the other—and maintaining a role in which he is no longer invested—he is doing a disservice to county residents. If he feels so strongly about the shortcomings of the elected officials in Sparta and about his need to come to the rescue, Mr. Hertzberg should not be putting the entire county and its residents in the crossfire of his inability to choose.