Hudson County Assignment Judge Bariso ruled on Friday that five votes were necessary to appoint Jim Doyle to the Hoboken City Council.
Doyle was appointed in October to complete former councilwoman Carol Marsh's term. Marsh resigned, citing personal reasons, in September.
Doyle's appointment — which was met with heavy opposition from the council minority — passed in a 4-3-1 vote. Councilman and mayoral critic Michael Russo abstained. Councilwoman Beth Mason was absent that meeting.
Corporation Counsel Melissa Longo and City Clerk Jimmy Farina both said that a simple majority of council members present was enough to appoint Doyle.
The four minority council members sued their opponents on the city council, Mayor Dawn Zimmer and City Clerk Jimmy Farina to have Doyle removed.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer reacted that that would lead to "gridlock" for the entire city. A vacant seat means that a lot of the resolutions and ordinances may fail in 4-4 votes.
Whether or not all council members were required to be present at the appointment of a new member is still unclear.
"Judge Bariso made clear that he was not ruling at this time on the issue of whether all Council members were required, under the Municipal Vacancy Law, to appear at a meeting to vote on the vacancy," the city announced.
Doyle's seat will be vacant at the next council meeting — which has been moved to Nov. 28 — but the city is looking to make sure to try to fill the vacancy.
The city announced that it's "preparing an application to have the Court order all Council members to attend a Council meeting and vote on the filling of the Council vacancy."
The next scheduled city council elections — while previously in May — will tkae place in November 2013.