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Councilman Jim Doyle Removed From Seat after Judge's Ruling

The newest member of the council was appointed to complete Carol Marsh's term.

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.

franksinatra November 21, 2012 at 04:14 AM
I have to conclude that Madmon is right about this because the Dawn folks respond by just calling names and not addressing any of the points. It appears the Dawn faction on the council broke both state law and municipal law with this illegal appointment. Doyle is a lawyer himself and let this go on. I hope he is reimbursing the city for the council pay he's collected. If he wins the special election -- if the Dawn people dare to hold one -- he can resume his paychecks. The mystery, FAP, is why your crowd keeps obsessing about Mason's and Russo's attendance at council meetings. What does that have to do with filling this vacancy? Absolutely nothing, as far as I can tell. The state's 30-day period for filling the slot is now over and so this is all a moot question, but what difference would it make if all of the (former) minority members were on hand? One would surely abstain and there would still be no tie for Dawn to break. You and your crowd are purposely muddying the issue to deflect attention from an incompetent city lawyer and a bungled strategy for replacing Marsh and keeping their majority. And the idea that a judge would order councilpeople to attend a meeting is simply absurd. The bottom line here is that we now have some checks and balances back in this city. It's a very welcome development that we now have a 4-4 council and Dawn will finally have to reach out and compromise instead of endlessly shoving her often terrible ideas down our throats.
FAP November 21, 2012 at 05:02 PM
It was the Judge not I who seemed to comment that the reasons behind the absences of Mason and Russo may be of legal interest. If you think the Judge is fixated on the issue you'll have to take it up with him. . I think this is a question of interpretation of the law. The administration of Mayor Zimmer, and just yesterday the administration of Mayor Corey Booker, interpreted that an absence could create a tie if there are an equal number of votes in favor of an action and a combined equal number of votes against, abstentions, and absent participants. Functionally since if the absent person was there and had voted yes the measure would have passed and if the person voted no the Mayor's vote would have passed the measure, I personal find this reasoning persuasive. . As for what is moot and is not moot is another issue you may want to take up with the Judge. I'm not a lawyer but my take on what I saw the Judge say left open the door for a hearing on ordering Council members to participate in a vote to install someone in the vacant council seat. . Again I'm not a lawyer and I could be wrong but that is my take.
puzzledone November 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
You mean after Tim Occhipinti ran around the room holding an "emergency" resolution over his head with a s***-eating grin on his face? Seems the minority cares about process only when it helps them get their way. When it means that Lane Bajardi does not get to speak after Roman Brice, suddenly Beth Mason forgets how to read names going down a list.
MadisonMonroe November 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
It doesn't matter what the judge "seemed" to say. We know exactly what he did say: Mr. Doyle is off the city council.That's because our city council broke the law when they seated their friend. And they knew they were in the wrong, too, when they had their "re-vote". And the Zimmer supporters who called themselves reformers should hang their heads in shame at the lack of transparency in the process. The opening left by Ms. Marsh's resignation should have triggered an automatic 30-day advertisement period. It didn't. Instead, this council and mayor accepted her resignation and swore in a replacement on the same day. In my book, that makes them no better than the "old guard" politicos who regularly pulled that kind of stuff back in the day. The Zimmer/Bhalla Machine, just like their predecessors, evidently believes the end justifies the means. I had higher hopes for Jen Giattino, a mom from the block who just wanted to bring sunshine into the city, but she's as new-old-guard as the rest of them. And Mr. Doyle, who's an attorney and political insider (one of Joe Vas' top contributors before he went off to prison on corruption charges), certainly didn't step up and do the right thing either. To the council and mayor: hope your Thanksgiving turkey served with a side of Bariso-smack-down doesn't give you too much agita.
puzzledone November 21, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I love how you are saying that setting up a situation where you get your way through an absolute and hostile dereliction of duty by the minority is a move against a machine with an end will justify the means mentality.

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