Tuesday night, the governing body in Secaucus attempted to fill the vacant 1st Ward council seat vacated earlier this month by Richard Kane. However, after meeting in closed session to interview three candidates vying for the spot, a divided Town Council couldn't muster enough votes for any one candidate.
The decision now rests with the Secaucus Democratic Committee.
Because Kane was elected as a Democrat, after his resignation, the Secaucus Democratic Committee selected three possible replacements, as is required by state law.
The committee selected Dawn McAdam, Robert Zych, and George Heflich as candidates for the position. In addition, the committee passed a resolution urging the appointment of McAdam to the seat since there are currently no women on the Town Council. These candidates were then submitted to the council for approval.
With Kane's departure, however, the Town Council is evenly divided 3-3 between Democrats and Independents. The council's three Democrats include Mayor Dennis Elwell and Councilmen John Shinnck and John Reilly. The three Independents are Councilmen Michael Gonnelli, Gary Jeffas, and John Bueckner.
Two formal votes were taken at the public meeting held after the caucus.
The Independents voted to appoint Zych to fill Kane's seat. The Democrats opposed Zych's appointment.
Next, the Democrats moved to appoint McAdam to the position, while the Independents voted against her.
Since the council was deadlocked, the matter now reverts back to the Secaucus Democratic Committee for a final decision. The committee, chaired by Elwell, is expected to meet on Tuesday, March 3, and is almost certain to appoint McAdam.
McAdam will serve out the remainder of Kane's term, which ends on Dec. 31.
Since Kane was also up for reelection this year McAdam is also expected to join Elwell's ticket for the Democratic primary in June.
Elwell and Gonnelli, a political adversary, are expected to face off in the mayoral election in November. - E. Assata Wright