Manny Alfonso, the Republican challenger in the Bergen County sheriff race, on Wednesday accused incumbent Mike Saudino of what he termed “grant deception.” According to Alfonso, Saudino “will never make good on his promise to reduce department spending by $200 million.”
In his statement, Alfonso went on to say that Democrats’ claims that they can save “up to $200 million in Bergen County by disbanding the county police force” are false. Alfonso also said that “the sheriff has increased spending year after year.”
Saudino’s campaign spokesperson Matt Bonasia issued the following response to Alfonso’s claims: “Manny Alfonso is entitled to have his own opinions but he is not entitled to create his own facts. These claims are outright fabrications from a desperate candidate who knows he is going to lose in November. If Manny Alfonso stuck with the facts he would be forced to admit that Sheriff Saudino has saved the taxpayers of Bergen County over $4 million through the realignment while improving public safety and that he has reduced overtime by 40% and saved $5 million since 2011 by cutting unnecessary spending.”
According to Alfonso the spending reduction is actually “political deception.” He claimed that items like new police vehicles are now being paid out of the county freeholder budget rather than the sheriff budget and have therefore “artificially lowered” the sheriff budget.
“Call it smoke and mirrors or bait and switch, but no matter what you call it, it’s a deception by the sheriff and his supporters perpetrated on the taxpayers of Bergen County, ” said Alfonso.
Saudino was formerly a Republican but switched his party affiliation to Democrat in January 2016. His departure from the party left the GOP scrambling for a candidate until they found Alfonso.