JERSEY CITY AND BEYOND -- By a vote of 5-3-1, the Jersey City Council introduced a measure Wednesday night to replace current Council President Peter Brennan with At-large City Councilwoman Viola Richardson.
If the proposal is approved at the council's next meeting, on Jan. 25, Brennan has threatened to file a lawsuit against his colleagues on the council, whom he believes are violating his civil rights. He also said removing him as council president “without just cause” is a violation of his contract with the city and council.
Given Brennan's threat, it is unclear whether the move to oust him as council president - which was introduced by Ward C City Councilwoman Nidia Lopez - will be successful. On Wednesday, council members Steven Fulop, David Donnelly, Rolando Lavarro, Richardson, and Lopez voted to introduce the resolution to replace the council president. Brennan and his allies, Michael Sottolano and William Gaughan, voted against the resolution. Newly appointed City Councilwoman Michele Massey, who was just sworn in last month, abstained from the vote, explaining that as a new representative she needed more information before casting a vote in favor or against the proposal.
Brennan was selected as president in 2009 after the last regular citywide municipal election. At that time, the council held a reorganization meeting and Brennan was voted president, a position he expected to hold until the next reorganization meeting in 2013, after the next round of citywide elections.
Lopez, however, noticed that other cities - including nearby Hoboken - have successfully switched their council leadership between election cycles and proposed doing the same in Jersey City.
Although there was no formal public hearing on the resolution Wednesday, several residents supported Lopez's proposal. - E. Assata Wright