Doyle's Seat to Remain Vacant for At Least Two More Meetings
Many votes could fail in a 4-4 stalemate.
The Hoboken City Council will officially only have eight members for at least two upcoming meetings.
This will likely mean that controversial issues will either be postponed or will fail in 4-4 votes.
A couple of weeks ago, Hudson County Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ruled that five votes were needed to appoint councilman Jim Doyle, after the four minority council members sued the city and the rest of the council.
While the minority considered Doyle's appointment "illegal," Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo and City Clerk Jimmy Farina said that a simple majority was needed to appoint Doyle. The judge disagreed.
Doyle was initially appointed to serve the remainder of former council woman Carol Marsh's term.
Marsh's term was originally set to expire on June 30, 2013. Now that the municipal elections have officially been moved to November, that term won't expiere until the end of 2013.
Now, the city has filed a counter suit in hopes to require all council members to be present at a mandatory meeting to vote on a new council member. In the event of a 4-4 vote, the mayor can cast a deciding vote to appoint a council member.
Since Doyle's appointment, however, there hasn't been a meeting where all nine council members have been present.
The next hearing by Judge Bariso is scheduled for December 14. There are council meetings scheduled for Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.
It's unclear what happens if council members abstain in a vote to appoint a council member. During the first time the council appointed Doyle, Councilman Michael Russo abstained.
Members of the minority have said that the seat should be filled in a special election, rather than by appointment. When asked if he would run in a special election, Doyle said he didn't know yet.
"This would be a $120,000 special election for me to be there for five months," Doyle said, and "that’s just to the tax payer."
While waiting until mid-December is making him a little impatient, Doyle is keeping calm.
"This isn't about me," Doyle said. He said he will be present on Wednesday night, but will be sitting in the audience.
"It's a little frustrating," Doyle added, "at both of those meetings not much of substance is going to happen."