Sacco critic responds to arrest during town meeting
Oct 11, 2012 | 5437 views | 1 1 comments | 262 262 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NORTH BERGEN AND BEYOND -- Janice Zorovich, a critic of the administration of Mayor Nicholas Sacco, was arrested Wednesday night after Sacco asked police to escort her from the Board of Commissioners meeting for repeatedly making vocal outbursts and refusing to leave the Municipal Chambers. She was charged with defiant trespassing, a disorderly persons offense.

Zorovich was released later that night on her own recognizance and gave her reaction to the incident in a Reporter interview.

Town meetings have been increasingly boisterous after Superintendent of Public Works James Wiley pleaded guilty last month to having town workers do personal chores at his house while being paid by the taxpayers – sometimes for overtime. The offenses are still being investigated, and Sacco’s critics are blaming him for the problem, which he has said he was unaware of. The public works department is being restructured.

Wednesday night, Mayor Sacco said at the beginning of the meeting that in the interest of decorum, no outbursts would be tolerated.

During the portion of the meeting for members of the public to speak, Zorovich addressed the commissioners about various town issues. Her remarks were punctuated with applause from the audience. But after her time at the microphone ended, she continued to make remarks from her front row seat even after Sacco told her to keep quiet.

As various other speakers leveled criticism at Sacco, Zorovich and others shouted out comments.

“The next one who calls out, I’m going to have to ask them to leave,” said Sacco in response to the outbursts. “If you call out again and disrupt the meeting again... I’ve been pretty patient.”

After a man played an old recording purported to be of Sacco, Zorovich shouted out further. Police asked Zorovich several times to leave, but she refused.

Then, Zorovich was handcuffed and arrested for “defiant trespassing.” Chaos ensued when audience members crowded around to take photos and record videos of the occurrence.

Once the meeting was over, Sacco commented.

“It was completely a political attack,” he said. “Janice got herself in trouble. After she called out probably about her fifth time I asked her to leave...I warned her probably at least four times. I didn’t throw her out of the meeting.”

Once the meeting ended, members of the North Bergen Concerned Citizens Group said they were on their way to bail out Zorovich at the police precinct on the same block. Zorovich was released shortly afterward. She said she did not blame the officers who arrested her, because they were merely following orders.

“Dictator, First Amendment right, and then they put the police officers in a position to do this,” said Zorovich. “How do you trespass on public property? We have rights and he’s [Sacco] trying to take them all away.”

For more on this story, see this weekend's North Bergen Reporter on your doorstep in North Bergen, or come back to and scroll down to "North Bergen news" starting Sunday.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 12, 2012
"The offenses are still being investigated, and Sacco’s critics are blaming him for the problem, which he has said he was unaware of."

He's REALLY saying he didn't know a guy was using town resources to campaign for him and his buddies? Yeah, that's believable. It's fine, I'm sure he just got into office and is learning the ropes. Oh nevermind, he's been in power there for years and put all those people in town in their positions. The parks guy, I'm sure, just wanted to risk his freedom and reputation because he loves the HCDO so much, not because his boss basically runs the county machine and told him to do so. So basically, the defense from the top is, well uhh I've been in charge for all these years as a county force but I don't know what's going on in my own parks department OR on my campaigns. Yeah, that's believable. Move along everyone, nothing to see here.