HOBOKEN -- The leadership of the Hoboken City Council has a new face.
Councilwoman Beth Mason, long rumored to be the next council president in Hoboken, was voted in as president after a motion sponsored by Councilman Nino Giacchi and seconded by Councilwoman Theresa Castellano passed unanimously at the beginning of the Wednesday evening City Council meeting.
Mason has been largely critical of Mayor Dawn Zimmer's administration. The City Council is currently allied 5-4 against Zimmer.
Shortly after the vote for Mason, Councilman Michael Russo was voted in unanimously as the City Council vice president. The motion was put forth by Councilman Tim Occhipinti and seconded by Giacchi.
The leadership shift comes after the rules were amended in early December, following the November election of Occhipinti. The council now is aligned against Zimmer on most issues by a 5-4 margin. Incumbent Michael Lenz, a Zimmer supporter, was defeated on Nov. 2.
Mason replaces Councilwoman Carol Marsh and Russo replaces Councilman Ravi Bhalla, who resigned their positions after a rule change made their dismissal possible by a simple majority vote. Previously, council re-alignment took place following usual May elections, but the special election in November disrupted the regular schedule of elections, calling for a new re-alignment of the council leadership.
For a complete story on the City Council meeting, pick up a copy of the weekend's Hoboken Reporter. - Ray Smith