No Decision on New Twp. Committee Member
The Chatham Township Republican Committee will name one of the three candidates to fill the vacant seat at their next meeting.
The Chatham Township Committee came out of executive session Wednesday with no agreement on who should fill Kevin Tubbs' seat.
"After a discussion by the committee, none of the three candidates has a majority," Mayor Nicole Hagner said.
The duty of choosing one of the three candidates—Laura Ali Nonnenmacher, Joseph Contorno or Karen Swartz—to fill the vacancy left by Tubbs now falls on the Chatham Township Republican Committee, which will meet Monday evening.
Tom Basta, the chairman of the Republican Committee in the township, said the meeting will be closed to the public and the press. He is not sure if one candidate needs a simple majority or a larger majority to be selected.
"I'll have to check our bylaws," Basta said. "To be honest I wasn't expecting to have to answer these questions tonight."
Basta said he has to "look at the roster" to know how many people sit on the Republican Committee. Nonnenmacher and Contorno are sitting members, as are Hagner and Committee Members Robert Gallop and Bailey Brower Jr.
Committee Member Kathy Abbott said the four sitting members of the Township Committee "could not come to a decision as a group. It would have been easier if Kevin Sullivan had been up to fill this six-month term."
Sullivan was elected Tuesday, by a majority of 20 votes, to be the Republican candidate for the full three-year term which begins in January.
Basta said Sullivan did not apply to fill Tubbs' vacancy
Hagner said, "I guess we felt the three candidates they [the Republican Committee] presented all had good qualities and experiences." She said she expected the committee to have filled the role during Wednesday's special meeting, and did not anticipate Tubbs' seat would be vacant so long."
"It's two people against two people," Brower said.
Administrator Tom Ciccarone said such a longstanding vacancy on the committee has "never happened before, to my knowledge."
"For us it's nice to have five members," Hagner said, adding the committee has had to fill in for Tubbs' various liaison appointments during the vacancy. "It will be nice to have somebody [at the next meeting]."
The 30-day deadline to choose a new member expires Thursday. The Republican Committee will select the replacement from among the three candidates and will inform the township committee of their decision. That person will be sworn in in time for the township's next meeting on Thursday, June 14.
Tubbs, a former mayor and twice-elected committee member, submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Nicole Hagner on Friday, May 4. The resignation was effective Tuesday, May 8.
Tubbs' resignation was expected. The committee member announced on April 12 that he would likely resign from the township committee, as his family planned to move out of state. On March 22, he said he would not seek re-election.
The Chatham Township Republican Committee met Monday, May 21, and selected Swartz, Nonnenmacher and Contorno as their nominees to fill Tubbs' seat. When the township committee met on May 24, they interviewed the three candidates in executive session but declined to name one of them to fill the seat. Instead they chose to schedule the public meeting Wednesday.
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