Alternate GOP slate taps Castronova for council seat bid

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WEST MILFORD – Steven Castronova will join incumbent Township Councilmen Peter McGuinness and Lou Signornio on an alternative Republican slate in the June primary, slate spokesman Matt Conlon announced in a press release Wednesday.

Castronova is seeking a seat on the governing body with McGuinness while Signorino wants the nomination for mayor.

The three will face GOP Committee candidates Michele Dale for mayor and Kevin Goodsir and Warren Gross for council.

According to the release, Castronova and his family have an extensive career in numerous local businesses, having operated a gas station, car dealership and service center, restaurants, and numerous commercial complexes - all in West Milford.

“I am excited to add Steve to our ticket, joining Pete and me in our quest to restore fiscally responsible leadership to the Governing Body,” said Signorino, a three-time council president. “Steve is a true conservative who, unlike others, will actually use business principles in making sound decisions to move our Township forward.”

Castronova ran for council in 2017, beating out Dale in the GOP primary that year by about 100 votes.

However, he later withdrew from the race due to charges relating to a hit and run incident at a pub on Route 23.

The GOP put Andie Pegel in his place instead of Dale as a candidate that year, running with Patricia Gerst.

Pegel went on to win the election and now serves on the governing body.

The shoe is on the other foot this year with the GOP Committee going with Dale, Goodsir and Gross instead of the incumbents.

Acting GOP Committee Chair Vivienne Erk said that during the candidate selection meeting earlier this month that committee members and residents “expressed serious concerns” about the conduct of Signorino and McGuinness during meetings.

Since Dale took office for a one-year unexpired term in November, there have been several confrontations between the party factions.

The biggest dust up has been related to the firing of Antoinette Battaglia as the part time administrator.

Battaglia was terminated by the council 5-1 during its last meeting of the year Dec. 19.

Former GOP Councilman Mike Hensley was the only opposing vote.

Battaglia was appointed by former Democratic Mayor Bettina Bieri for a stipend of $38,000 per year in addition to the $95,000 Battaglia earned for her full time role as township clerk.

Signorino said the move was made because the township needs a full time person in the job.

The candidates will be kicking off the primary campaign with an event honoring Signorino for Mayor and McGuinness & Castronova for Council on March 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Lake Hird Lodge at Ocawasin, 625 Macopin Road in West Milford.

The “food, family, fun” event will feature a DJ and Italian dinner.

For ticket information, contact Lou Signorino at (973) 296-8214.

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