UPDATE: Dems Submit Candidates to Replace Vaughan
Former congressional candidate Douglas Herbert, along with Eck and Wecker on the list.
Just one day after losing his bid for re-election, Nelson Vaughan resigned as Chatham Borough mayor Wednesday afternoon, effective immediately.
Vaughan told Patch he cleared out his office Wednesday and turned in his letter of resignation at 3 p.m. to Borough Clerk Susan Caljean. The resignation went into effect at the close of business.
Vaughan's resignation would leave Council President Jim Lonergan as the acting mayor. However, Lonergan left for vacation on Wednesday, leaving Councilman Bruce Harris, who beat Vaughan in Tuesday's election, as the longest-serving councilman currently in the borough and the acting mayor until Lonergan returns.
Ed DiFiglia, chairman of the Chatham Borough Democratic Committee, said Thursday morning he heard of Vaughan's resignation through a "third party" and not from Vaughan himself.
A statement from DiFiglia released Thursday afternoon read in part that the resignation "caught many members of our community by surprise, but no one was more suprised than the members of the Chatham Borough Democrats. Most of the Committee members learned of his resignation via third parties or the Alternative Press, who broke the story early last evening."
"This is not a situation that the Committee had ever hoped to find itself," the statement went on to read. It concluded by thanking Vaughan for his service and wishing him luck in his future endeavors.
DiFiglia said he submitted the names of three candidates to fill the remainder of Vaughan's term to the Borough Clerk Thursday morning. The nominees are Nicholas Eck, Marcy Wecker and Douglas Herbert.
Wecker was Vaughan's runningmate for Chatham Borough Council in the campaigns, but family obligations prevented her from actively campaigning. She missed the Candidates Forum put forth by the League of Women Voters in October. She said she is "honored" to be named as a possible interim mayor.
"I think Mayor Vaughan did a wonderful job," she said. "It's a sad day when any mayor resigns, especially Mayor Vaughan because he put the town first."
Wecker also said she respects Vaughan's decision to step down. "It's not so easy to volunteer as a public official or as a candidate. These people are all volunteers and they put themselves out there to do the best for Chatham. It's much easier for people to criticize and not put themselves out there," she said.
Herbert is Wecker's husband and ran for U.S. Congress in 2010 against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who has held the seat since 1995. Both Wecker and Herbert are practicing attorneys.
Nicholas Eck currently serves as a volunteer on the borough's Communications Committee and was a key figure in getting the borough's new website off the ground. He said via email Thursday that he was on vacation and was not available for further comment until Monday.
The council will interview the candidates and select one to serve as mayor for the rest of the year.
Vaughan said he didn't want to be a "lame duck" before Harris is sworn in as the borough's new mayor in January.
Vaughan also said he wanted to spend more time with his family before his first grandchild is born next month.
"If you've ever been a first-time prospective grandfather, you'd understand what that entails," Vaughan said.
Vaughan said leaving his post was "like a burden being lifted," and "as a lame duck mayor, I wouldn't have been able to do any good for the borough anyway."
Harris said the news of Vaughan's resignation came as "a total surprise" to him. "I don't really understand why he would resign and not serve out the remainder of his term. ... It's never happened before, as far as I know," he said.
Patch will continue to update this story.