A few weeks after calling the conflict of interest allegations "political retaliation," Morris Township's deputy mayor announced Tuesday he will recuse himself from all Honeywell proceedings.
Deputy Mayor Bruce Sisler said in a prepared statement that he does not believe a conflict exists, but he chose to step down because he doesn't want any more delays, and believes "the future of Morris Township depends on this process moving forward."
Sisler's recusal comes just a few weeks after it was with Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr. could pose a conflict of interest when voting in the plan to redevelop Honeywell's property.
"After more than two years of open public hearings, resident input, and deliberation, it’s time to move the Honeywell process forward," he said in the statement. "Unfortunately, resolution of this important project has been beset by numerous delays and distractions."
Township Attorney John Mills said at the Aug. 16 meeting that Bucco has been public in stating that he's in favor of keeping Honeywell's headquarters in New Jersey, which could be seen as a conflict in Sisler's vote.
That meeting—which was supposed to be the first public hearing on the zoning ordinance—was delayed until this Thursday.
That was the second delay of the first hearing, after for his potential conflict of interest involving his wife's former employment at the company, where she still holds a pension fund and retiree savings plan.
Sisler, who after Grayzel recused himself, said in his years of serving the township and the state, he has never dealt with a conflict regarding Honeywell or any other issue before the township committee.
“My objective has always been to put Morris Township and its residents first, doing so without any thought of personal gain—monetary or otherwise," he said. "Likewise, the objective of my employer, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, for whom I am Chief of Staff, is to serve in the best interests of all New Jerseyans and towns in the 25th Legislative District equally, including Morris Township."
Mayor Peter Mancuso said he agrees with Sisler's decision to recuse himself to move the process forward.
"I'm glad he recused himself," Mancuso said. "Depending on what goes on legally, we'll see what this leads to and how we can ge back to business and hopefully get things adjudicated."
Mancuso said he's waiting to hear from Mills to see where the process goes from here and what the legal ramifications are. The procedure will be announced at Thursday's hearing, but Mancuso said both Sisler and Grayzel still have the chance at commenting in the public portion.
Now with two less votes on the Honeywell redevelopment plan, which is looking to add 235 townhomes, office and lab space on its 147 acre property, the first hearing will be Thursday when financial and traffic experts will make presentations before the public comment.
Although now without a vote, Sisler said he is still looking forward to the final outcome for what is best for Morris Township.
"I look forward to a swift resolution to this distraction so that my fellow committee members and I can get back to work in protecting, preserving, and enhancing Morris Township’s quality of life," he said.