HOBOKEN--The Hoboken City Council considered choosing a 4th Ward councilperson at their meeting Monday night, to fill the seat left open when Dawn Zimmer ascended to mayor.
Several Zimmer allies, including Michael Lenz and Tony Soares, have expressed their interest in the position. Lenz is a former school board president who later managed former Mayor David Roberts' campaign, became city CFO when Roberts was elected, and then was fired by the Roberts administration. Lenz contended that the firing was unfair and political and won a six-figure settlement. He now works for the county.
Soares is the former 4th Ward councilman and like Lenz is a big Zimmer ally.
At Monday night's meeting, Councilwoman Theresa Castellano complained that some of the council members were pushing for the council to choose a 4th Ward councilperson tonight, even though Castellano has not seen resumes of candidates.
Whoever was chosen would lead the council until a special election can be held in November.
Castellano noted that Zimmer's allies had promised to make City Hall more transparent, and to interview candidates for positions rather than just hiring allies.
But Lenz, when he got up to the microphone, accused critics of trying to hamper the process, saying the same critics were, in the past, "silent when things were done in back rooms and whatever else."
Lenz argued that putting off the vote would mean those people would "try and deprive the 4th Ward" of leadership for another two weeks.
He also spoke about what the ward needs: More youth programs, more progress on the flooding issue. He also said he could help with the city's major budget problems.
He said he had phoned every council person to express his interest in the position. He also said that anyone who was interested in the position should have contacted the council.
But 4th Ward resident Rachel Goldberg spoke next, saying the 4th Ward DOES need good representation, and that it's not a decision that should be taken lightly. She read from the councilpeople's own campaign literature, noting that several of them had promised to make the city more transparent and accessible.
She said that being more transparent about the vote would show that the city is changing the way things are done.
She also noted that she is not running for the office.
Soares spoke later, talking about his work as former 4th Ward councilman, including fighting to bring the light rail to the city's west side.
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