Former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero testified that he “was not happy” after Bergenfield hired a Republican as their top lawyer in January 2001, The Record reported today. Ferriero said he recalled speaking with then-Mayor Robert Rivas in December 2000, but indicated that he did not recall meeting him for lunch.
Ferriero’s displeasure with Rivas likely played into the 2001 race for State Assembly in District 37. The incumbent, Ken Zisa (D-Hackensack) was giving up his Assembly seat to run for Bergen County Sheriff, and Rivas wanted the Democratic nomination. Instead, Ferriero picked Gordon Johnson, a career law enforcement official from Englewood. Rivas ran against the organization in the primary, and lost to Johnson 7,653 to 1,662. The top vote-getter in that primary was Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who received 7,976 votes.
Zisa lost the race for Sheriff to Republican Joel Trella, one of the biggest losses of Ferriero’s political career.