The election will take place in order to fill the unexpired term of Joseph Doria, who resigned last October to take a state cabinet post. Interim Mayor Terrence Malloy, who holds the seat until next November, has not yet indicated whether he intends to run.
In 2006, Conaghan ran and lost against Doria in a hotly contested election.
Prior to making his announcement official, Conaghan said he liked Malloy, but felt that the city needs a drastic change of direction.
"Malloy is part of the old failed system," Conaghan said.
Saying that his campaign is about reducing expenses, increasing revenues and correcting abuses on the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority, Conaghan said he had originally agonized over the decision to run.
"Because I'm not inside government, I don't know the depth of the problems this city faces," he said. "But I believe if I don't do it, I don't know what will happen to Bayonne. The only worse thing we can do is leave the people in charge who are in charge now."
Conaghan said he had high hopes for Malloy when Malloy took over last October.
"He's a nice guy, but he's been in government for more than 20 years. He's incapable of shaking up municipal government the way it needs to be," Conaghan said. "We need a change of culture in City Hall."
Conaghan said many of the issues are the same as when he ran for office in 2006, except that the fiscal situation has become more dire.
"We have problems with the Port Authority and we have problems with development at MOTBY [the former Military Ocean Terminal]," he said.
Conaghan said some of the plans he had proposed for the MOTBY during his earlier campaign might not be possible now, because the BLRA has taken irreversible actions on the land. But some of his proposals for bidding out the sale of property for development are still possible.
He said it is necessary to restore faith in local government by controlling taxes and allowing the residents of Bayonne to believe the city is acting on their behalf. These are things, he said, he intends to do if elected.
Conaghan said that he recently learned that the city had mistakenly paid health benefits for former employees living and deceased for years, until the mistake was recently uncovered. He believes this is only the tip of the iceberg and intends as mayor to call for a comprehensive audit of all city operations to determine if similar mistakes exist in other areas.
While he said most city employees work hard, he believes that some people are not needed or in wrong positions. This will also be evaluated.
"We need new management with fiscal integrity," he said. "My administration will provide prudent accounting and planning principal, not smoke and mirrors as was done in the past."
He said he is running in the special election because the city cannot wait until the next regular election in 2010 to start making changes.
Councilmen Anthony Chiappone and Gary La Pelusa have endorsed Conaghan.
A practicing lawyer for more than 40 years, he served as a municipal judge from 1996 to 2002. Earlier in his career, he served as judicial clerk with Superior Court Judge David A. Nimmo in Hudson County, and was designated a deputy public defender for Hudson County. He was also part of the state's original Public Defender Program.
Conaghan has served on the Board of Education, as well as on the Board of Directors for two banks.
Conaghan also has extensive community service experience through civic organizations. He served on the board of the Bayonne YMCA and was a member of the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce. He is a past president of the Bayonne Kiwanis Club, served on the Advisory Board of Mount Carmel Guild, and was a member of the Board of Directors for United Way of Hudson County, the Bayonne Police Athletic League and the Bayonne Junior Chamber of Commerce.