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Victor Cirilo Charged With DWI

West Orange council president arrested Friday night in Verona.

A West Orange council member was arrested in Verona and charged with drunken driving and two other charges, Verona Police Chief Douglas Huber said Tuesday morning.

Police stopped council president Victor Cirilo’s car shortly after midnight Friday, Nov. 9, after he made a turn from Bloomfield Avenue onto Mount Prospect Avenue (Route 23), Nov. 9, Huber said.

He was administered a field sobriety test, Huber said, but refused to take a blood alcohol test and was arrested.

Cirilo also faces careless driving and failure to keep right charges and was issued a summons to appear in Verona Municipal Court on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Cirilo apologized for the arrest in a letter to the editor immediately after his arrest last week, saying he intends to fight the charges and asking residents to not make a rush to judgment.

West Orange officials refused comment on the arrest last week, according to a statement released by township public information officer Jessica Glicker.

Cirilo, who won his first council term in 2010, was elected in the township’s non-partisan elections. The term expires in 2014.

He is employed as the executive director of the housing authority of the city of Passaic and has served West Orange as a board member of the Downtown West Orange Alliance and the John Renna House, as well as serving stints on the West Orange Public Library Board and the West Orange Valley Revitalization Committee.

Cirilo also served as the field director for Sen. Robert Menendez’s suburban Essex County campaign operation and as chief of staff for state Assemb. John McKeon.

Gary Englert November 13, 2012 at 06:37 PM
There's surely a level of hypocrisy when calling for "accountability" from behind the anonymity of a screen name!
Gunny November 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
But you had sound judgement in what you had been trying to accomplish. That's key. When our judgement isn't quite rite, do to being intoxicated behind the wheel of a car, that's a little different. One other point, 25 years ago there was not those little things in police cars called dash cams. And if you're in fact innocent? Why not just take the blood alcohol test? I'm sure he'll have his due process. He's a politician. He'll walk.
Gary Englert November 13, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Gunny: Rather than highlighting my "good judgment," the point of the story was toward illustrating that things are not alwaya black and white; there are indeed shades of grey...and the man is entitled to his day in court, as is any of the rest of us. For all any of us know, the "dash cam" recording you reference might well be an integral part of the man's defense. Neither he, nor anyone else, however,is above the law based on their profession, politics, celebrity or civic involvement...as even passing familarity with a newspaper should tell you.
Gunny November 13, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Gary Englert 2:32 pm on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 There's surely a level of hypocrisy when calling for "accountability" from behind the anonymity of a screen name! Yes, it's what I fought to protect. They're called "rights" Gary. I have the right to have that choice. Hypocrisy? I don't think so.
Gary Englert November 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Gunny: You're mixing apples and oranges, my friend, as your right to post anonymously is not at issue; the fact that you wish others held accountable when you (as an anoymous poster) can't possibly be IS the issue...and it IS hypocrisy. That said, I've fought for the rights we all enjoy, as well, and if you indeed have too, you should submit an application for the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and be honored by the state and Township next Memorial Day. Details and an application ay be obtained here: http://www.westorange.org/index.aspx?NID=212
Gunny November 13, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Gary, I have a few that are a bit more distinguished. Lets not relive old glory days. I don't need a medal to prove that I have a good heart and served proudly. As some others do. That said, I hope that our council president gets his fair day in court. I think you got a little off course, as a pilot with this whole thing. (No pun intended)
Mary L. November 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Someone who is drunk and knowingly gets behind the wheel of a car is committing a crime. There should be no place for criminals on the Town Council, much less someone with the esteemed title of Council President. Someone is this position should not be making the kind of mistakes that put people’s lives at risk. If they do they need to pay the consequences. Seems the town leaders are falling fast and furiously of late. (I’m assuming since he refused the breathalyzer test his guilt was apparent.) If the man has any dignity, he will resign. If the mayor has any guts, he will ask for his resignation. Period.
Gary Englert November 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Gunny: My course is true and my intent quite clear; nobody should be drawing conclusions about much of anything they weren't a party to. An allegation is just that and the reason we have judges and juries is to provide a forum for an impartial hearing of facts put in evidence. I went through a red light. Did I meet the intent of rule of law? Yes. Was anyone endangered in any way? No. Did the action I took serve a greater good? Yes. It's my story but, it could be anyone's. As to honoring veterans, I dare say it serves a noble purpose as the vast majority of the 345 combat veterans we've honored to date were ever previously publicly recognized, let alone in front of their family, friends and community, for their military service. It is neither about "reliving glory" as anyone who has been in a war knows there's really none to be found, nor the "need" for a medal as our honorees hold some of the highest decorations for valor this nation conveys. Why is it important to honor veterans? Simple. War remains the ultimate abomination of humankind and we must do everything in our power to evolve beyond its necessity. Still, so long as evil and tyranny exist in this world, it will require that good men and women act and bear arms...and we should continue to cherish and honor those who have and those who will If we do not revere this service to nation as laudable, we diminish the chances of people answering the call when needed.
Gary Englert November 13, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Mary L.: What we have here are allegations and not yet any findings of fact...and neither you, nor anyone else, should be assuming much of anything. That said, and while I certainly don't condone anyone driving under the influence, the alleged offenses are not "crimes" under New Jersey law; they are motor vehicle violations...and an entirely different kettle of fish. As such, even if guilt is ultimately determined, they simply do not rise to the level of requiring forfeiture of elected office...a matter that is also totally beyond the Mayor's purview.
tiredtaxpayer November 14, 2012 at 12:15 AM
What is the justification for cancelling the Town Council meeting because of the charges against Cirilo?
wohopeful November 14, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Mr. Cirilo will likely be forgoing his re-election in 2014 as well as any other ambissions for public office he might have...you reap what you sow.
Gary Englert November 14, 2012 at 02:25 AM
tiredtaxpayer: What would possibly lead you to believe "the charges against Cirilo" have anything at all to do with canceling the Township Council meeting? A better bet would be that people orginially scheduled to appear at the storm cancelled October 30th meeting had conflicts that precluded their appearance this evening; thus the cancellation. Mine, however, is speculation but,a definitive answer to your question can be obtained from the Municipal Clerk at 973-325-4144 or Clerk@westorange.org.
Gary Englert November 14, 2012 at 03:08 AM
It's a tad early to suggest anyone will be foregoing anything for 2014 let alone any ambitions further in the future.
M November 14, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I'm sure it was a "Medical Condition" that caused his erratic driving and inability to pass the sobriety test as well as his "right" to refuse a breathalizer.....yada yada yada It wouldn't be so easy to "forgive and forget" if someone got injured or worse. Mistake as someone previously suggested...I dont hink so.
wohopeful November 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Certainly there was other town business that could be attended to regardless of whether those scheduled for a previously cancelled meeting were available or not. It is perfectly clear why this meeting was cancelled.
Gary Englert November 14, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Any anonymous speculation to the contrary, I just got off the phone with the Municipal Clerk who advised that last night's meeting was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict for the redevelopment professionals who were slated to attend and present. Their appearance has been rescheduled for November 27th.
john anthony prignano November 15, 2012 at 12:17 AM
wohopeful Ordinances introduced, ordinances voted on, public comments on the ordinance{s}, resolutions, general public comments,Town officials presenting information and updates about the impact of the very recent devastating storm and information about power outages and restorations of power and the post- storm cleanups, the public's questions and input regarding the storm, award presentations.... MEANINGLESS! The redevelopment professionals who were scheduled to attend and present had a SCHEDULING CONFLICT, THAT'S why the meeting was canceled. Is that clear? And if these people can't make it to a meeting for several weeks or months, then obviously, duuhh, I cannot imagine any compelling reasons or reason to have Council meetings UNTIL they can make it to a meeting.
Car14 November 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I had a friend who was killed by a drunk driver along with her 7 year old daughter because the driver made a "little mistake". No excuse no matter who it is. No drinking and driving it's the law. Good for that police officer. No one else should be killed for someone's "little mistake".
Brett Kaiser November 15, 2012 at 08:32 PM
No Proof. Being charged is automatic when declining. Also, there is a case out there now where the guy proved he wasn't drinking and the cop went over the line...
DB November 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
"He was administered a field sobriety test, Huber said, but refused to take a blood alcohol test and was arrested" Can anyone defending him give me a good reason why somebody would refuse to take the test?
Gary Englert November 18, 2012 at 01:12 AM
DB: Most people are likely unfamiliar with the law and implications of refusing to take a breathalyzer test, or the chemistry involved, and would prefer to speak with an attorney before submitting to one and possibly compromising their position. Unfortunately, that's also a call you're unlikely allowed to make until fully processed...and that includes either taking or refusing the test.
Nick B November 18, 2012 at 03:26 AM
There is a very simple solution to this issue. I think that the Town Council should make a decision on this. Isn't there a code of conduct that the coucil members should uphold. Shouldn't Mr. Cirilo be releaved from being the Town Council president at least until his court date. I think the Town Council should make the decision and show the residents and taxpayers, whom they represent, that they are at least capable of making a good judgement call. We will then evaluate the other members of the council and determine if they should be re-elected. Thanks.
badbul November 18, 2012 at 07:46 AM
You should always refuse to take the field sobriety test as well as a breathalyzer test (BOC) if you believe that you have drank to much and are above the legal limit of .08. If you don't refuse, your giving the state more evidence to prosecute you. If you refuse the BOC test, it is mandatory that you lose your license. However, the state may lose the case against you of DWI/DUI. Your insurance company can't raise your rate for losing your license because of a refusal, but your insurance company will bury you if your convicted of DWI/DUI.
Gary Englert November 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Nick B: While I do not condone anyone operating a motor vehicle if impaired, let's remember that Mr. Cirilo has been charged, not convicted, of what in this state are motor vehicle infractions and not crimes of moral turpitude or that violate the public trust. As such, this situation does not indicate he is unfit for office and, even if convicted, forfeiture of his office is neither prescribed nor legally required. Like each and every one of the rest of us, he is also entitled to due process and his day in court. Unlike the vast majority of the +/- 25,000 New Jersey drivers who are given DUI summonses each year, the man is, however, being pilloried in the court of public opinion.
john anthony prignano November 19, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Regarding anyone accused of a crime, there is a presumption of innocence. The RULE is the accused is "Innocent until proven guilty." Why do some people think "where there's smoke there must be fire "? Or " He must have done something to be charged " Or they take the most biased point of view "If he refused to fully cooperate, and if he refused the field sobriety test, he MUST be guilty " My late brother - in - law was a Newark Police Lieutenant .Then Police Director Joseph Santiago appeared on national t.v. one night waving 3 badges and pointing to pictures of my brother - in - law and 2 other officers . Santiago was screaming " Look at these cops. These are corrupt officers who are going to jail !" Santiago had tried to set my brother - in -law up by assigning him to another precinct and planting a " confiscated" antique pistol that my brother- in - law was required to sign for The Star - Ledger reported that Santiago threatened other officers with reprisals if they testified on behalf of my brother - in - law or the other officers. My brother- in - law got his day in court and was found completely innocent of any wrongdoing. When the now fully exonerated Lieutenant applied for his retirement benefits, the undoubtedly very frustrated Santiago tried to deny him his pension. Of course, he got it. But look what he my sister and their respective families were put through. Again - the accused is Innocent until proven guilty. P.S. I have never met Mr. Cirilo.
Dan November 19, 2012 at 10:05 AM
I truly cannot believe that Mr. Englert is going to such length to defend this drunk driver. Your assumption that most people don't understand the chemistry involved in a DUI test is laughable. Only someone who is acutely aware of the differences generally refuse the test. This man put everyone's life in danger, including yours. I think you truly don't appreciate the "moral turpitude and public trust" that has been violated here. If this doesn't violate your idea of community morals and standards, what does? If he wasn't drunk, he would have taken the test and gone on his merry way. Lets keep the discussion simple. A blood test never lies.
Gary Englert November 19, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Dan: Rather than "defend(ing) this drunk driver," what I AM defending is the due process to which each and every one of us is entitled. DB asked a general question concerning why people would refuse to take the test and I gave an oft heard explanation that's far from laughable. Most people (not having been in the situation before) are not intimately familiar with the BAC test, how it works and, yes, their first instinct on being arrested is to wish to speak to a lawyer. To then affirm that "a blood test never lies" is at complete variance with documentable fact as both the machines, as well as blood and urinalysis tests, have been found faulty in numerous court cases on record. You'd be very well advised to "never" deal in absolutes when talking about any process involving human beings as none of them are infallible. Lastly, what I fully appreciate is that Mr. Cirilo (and anyone else similarly charged) is innocent until proven guilty and that motor vehicle infractions (including DUIs) have not been classified as violations involving "moral turpitude and public trust" by the state legislature and memorialized in law...and they are the "community morals and standards" we all currently live by. None of those posting here were there to witness this incident and, lacking that perspective, we're ill-equipped to comment intelligently concerning what did and did not occur and why. The matter should be decided in a court law and not on an Internet message board...period.
john anthony prignano November 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I agree with Englert. Some letters regarding accused teacher Erica Depalo's guilt or innocence mentioned her "flirtatious manner, immature behavior, overt sexual comments, tight skirts, and stiletto heels". Also mentioned in several letters were longstanding rumors and innuendo regarding her { inappropriate } relationships with underage students. AGAIN, salacious comments and unsubstantiated skuttlebutt are meaningless. She is innocent until proven guilty, PERIOD. My wife and I were illegally removed from our first business location by a sham sale orchestrated by our landlord and our attorney. We had refused to be coerced into purchasing the building for $60,000, so our landlord claimed he "sold" it to his son for $80,000. TEN YEARS later we got our day in court and WON. Ten times we were taken to court by landlords for everything imaginable - non - payment of rent, breaking the terms of our lease,not providing proper notification that we had renewed our lease, etc. On one occasion , the landlord told the Judge that the second floor we rented was in imminent danger of collapse because of excessive weight. He begged the judge to evict us that second. We WON every case. Sooooo, our locks were glued twice, our largest sign was stolen under cover of darkness, our equipment was vandalized, etc. etc. Victor Cirilo is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. To quote Gary Englert - " Period"
john anthony prignano November 19, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Alice in Wonderland - " No,no !" said the Queen. " Sentence first -- verdict afterwards"
Catherine Guiness June 04, 2013 at 09:55 PM
It's a crime getting hind the wheel intoxigated. A crime which take lives from families. Anyone in his position should be severly punished as an example to the public he serves.

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