Popular Posts

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thank You, Councilwoman Holly-Ward

Good morning, Blogolanders.  No doubt, you've all read in today's Trenton Times, there will be a special council meeting on Tuesday to discuss, explain, tell Trentonians what happens when a mayor, or even a member of council, goes away for whatever reason.  The last time Trenton faced this problem was in November of 1989, when Art Holland died of cancer.  Council president Carmen Armenti was selected to hold down the fort leading most Trentonians to believe the office/title went automatically to the council president.  Not so.  There was, I've been told, much squabbling in the conference room over who should take over.  John Cipriano felt that as senior member of council, he should be acting mayor; Carmen Armenti argued that he had been mayor before  ( 1966-1970).  It went to Carmen, but it could have gone to anyone.

Please note, too, the Honorable Mayor was not available for comment.  And this is where I wonder  about the Honorable Mayor - really wonder.  This is where you say something like, "What a good idea; the more the voters know about their government, the better," or words like that. 

Ms. Holly-Ward plans to discuss what happens if a council seat becomes vacant; another good idea.  When Jim Coston resigned there was a lot of confusion as to how to fill his seat which had almost a year left.  So, Blogolanders, please come to city hall on Tuesday.  Sadly, this process is not easy.  Not like when the president dies, the vice-president is president.  No questions. 

1 comment:

Old Mill Hill said...

Actually, the process is fairly clear. State law spells out what the specifics are, the timeline, etc.

Unfortunately, our inexperienced, ineffective and (dare I say) conflict avoiding law department seems unable and/or unwilling to read and comprehend what the law says.

In essence, when the seat of mayor is declared "vacant", the council president immediately becomes the (temporary) acting mayor until the governing body (city council) appoints an acting mayor. Should this occur prior to Sept 2 of the final year of the term, there would be a special election in November to elect someone to complete the term. This is not a likely occurrence in the current matter of the sitting mayor.

If the vacancy occurs after September 2 of the final year of the term, the governing body (city council) appoints someone to be mayor until the term ends. That someone is NOT automatically the Council President, nor is it mandated that it be any member of council. Any citizen of Trenton otherwise eligible to be mayor could be appointed.

As far as vacancies on council, the rules are basically the same. The remainder of the governing body chooses someone to fill the vacancy until (if vacancy occrus prior to Sept. 2 of the final year of the term) a special election can be held OR (after Sept 2 of the final year of the term) to complete the term.

It is a great idea to hold a public session to explain this.

It is a horrible idea if the information provided is incorrect, as was the case of the comments reported in the April 25 article in the Times.