Scott Rumana's Republican Report Card

It has now been about 3 months since the historic change of leadership in the Passaic County Republican Party, which swept Wayne Mayor and former Freeholder Scott Rumana into the Chairman’s slot in a decisive victory this June.

So...the "1st Marking Period" has ended, and Rumana earns a B+ for his performance so far.

First, the strong points. The increase in positive energy and enthusiasm among Republican activists has been dramatic. Ever since the election-night celebration at the Bonfire in Paterson, the sense of camaraderie has soared. Rumana's image has a lot to do with this. He has done a great job of showing GOP insiders that he cares about the well-being of the Party, and that he is willing to listen and cooperate with anyone who has positive contributions to make.

Another strong suit of Rumana's is the faith that he has placed in the democratic process. It is not easy to take over as captain of a sinking ship, plug the holes, try to recruit a new crew of good sailors, turn the ship around amidst rough waters and a rocky coastline, plus graciously bid farewell to VIP passengers and onboard new ones – all at the same time. When all 3 original Freeholder candidates dropped out, it would have been easy for Rumana to act like a dictator and strong-arm the Executive Committee into appointing staunch personal loyalists into the slots.

But he didn't do that. Each time, he sought out new candidates, presented their credentials to the Executive Committee, and actually convened the entire County Committee to nominate and approve the replacement candidates: Erik Lowe, Arturo Soto, and Keith LaForgia. Consequently, the Passaic County Republican County Committee (newly elected) has seen more activity in the past three months than in the past 3 years combined. This is outstanding.

However, not everything has been so rosy. Rumana has fallen short in his outreach efforts to key Republicans. Several elected officials have been disappointed in Rumana's failure to keep them abreast of changes or even presenting a specific plan of action for the medium term. Additionally, some observers seem to think that Rumana does not have his heart totally in the job, based upon his behavior at Executive Committee meetings. Others feel he has been indecisive and has lacked confidence, allowing himself to be bothered by critiques of those who would like to see him fail.

Certainly, cleaning up the mess left by the previous regime has not been easy, and there has been ongoing legal maneuvering. However, even those happiest to see change have remarked that gleefully sharing details of the legal minutiae has become tiresome. I was told that former Vice-Chair Jan Sandri, who ran for Freeholder in 2003 and is now the Little Falls GOP Municipal Chair, at the last Executive Committee meeting, basically said something to the effect of, "Can we move on now?"

Frankly, Sandri is right. Few were more vocal than I in castigating the previous leadership. But they've been soundly defeated, and yes, it is time to move on now. The time for bashing them has long passed.

Given these factors both positive and negative, Rumana would have earned a solid B. But at the end of the day, money talks. Word on the street is that the fundraiser held in late August brought in $35,000. That's a huge improvement when benchmarked against past performance. It's a major step forward and shows that Rumana has engendered significant confidence in the Passaic County Republican Party. Long overdue. We are on the right track.

ps: I was informed the day after posting this that the net intake from the fundraiser was not $35,000 but rather $50,000. By the way, the person who informed me of this also accused me of "grade inflation".