Council Minority Sues City to Remove New Councilman; Mayor Zimmer Says Suit Will Lead to 'Gridlock'
The four minority council members have sued the city for the removal of new councilman Jim Doyle.
The city council minority wants to remove Jim Doyle, who was appointed to serve as councilman-at-large recently, from the dais.
To do so, claiming his appointment was illegal, the four council members—First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason, Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo and Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti—are suing the city. (the complaint is attached).
Doyle was appointed on October 3 in a 4-2-1 vote. Mason was absent that meeting and Russo abstained. Doyle replaced former Councilwoman Carol Marsh, who resigned in September. Her term was supposed to expire on June 30, 2013.
City Clerk Jimmy Farina as well as Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo said that a simple majority of the council members present was enough to appoint Doyle.
The law suit on the other hand alleges that's not enough.
With the law suit, the minority members not only want to unseat Doyle, they want to keep the seat vacant. In case of a vacancy, there'd be four minority and four majority council members on the dais. In case of a tie, a resolution or an ordinance automatically fails.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer also cast a vote during that meeting. In case of a tie, the mayor gets to cast a deciding vote. While her vote seemed to have been unnecessary—since there was no tie—the council minority is calling it an "illegal" vote.
Zimmer responded to the law suit on Thursday, saying it was "stunning" that the council minority members are suing the city.
"They are trying to create gridlock for the city of Hoboken for the next eight months," she said.
It's unclear when the first hearing will be held exactly, but it could be early next week, Zimmer said.
"We believe we have a strong case," Zimmer said.