They were supposed to have the first Democrat on council in Rockaway in twenty years, but something happened on the way to the swearing in:
Scott Hiler, 28, was the second highest voter-getter on Election Day, behind Republican Thomas Mulligan, who took the oath of office with his family by his side.
Snyder read into the record a letter dated Dec. 31, 2008, from Hiler, who wasn’t at the meeting, prior to Mulligan being seated.
“For personal reasons I will not be able to fulfill my upcoming duties for the borough of Rockaway,” Snyder read. “Therefore, I am submitting my notice of resignation effective immediately.
The guy couldn’t even show up at the meeting to resign, he had to have someone read a statement? And because he wasn’t sworn in before resigning, the Democrats now have to fight again just to keep the seat. Here’s the Republican argument according to the GOP chair:
“The law is clear,” Sette said. “There never was an elected Democrat in office. He never took his seat. The last person to serve was a Republican who was in office until Dec. 31. So it’s a Republican call for a replacement.”
The Democrats disagree with that assessment of the situation:
“I would tell you I was blindsided by this,” said Morris County Democratic Party Chairman Lewis Candura. “I wish he would have spoken to me first and had taken office.
“But state law says because he was a Democrat and elected by the people, even if he did not take his seat he should be replaced by a Democrat,” Candura said.
The Borough attorney will have to decide between the two arguments, even though it seems like he already has his mind made up:
Since Hiler wasn’t sworn in, borough Attorney Edward Wacks said the seat remains Republican, and the term will be filled after the local Republican Party submits three names for the council to consider. One will be appointed, and then there will be an election in November to fill the unexpired term.
So the Borough Attorney says he will hear what both sides say, even though he seems to have decided he likes the Republican argument more before they start. Does it matter what the voters said, or do we just disregard their opinion? The guy was the 2nd highest vote getter in an election where nearly 3/4 of the voters turned out. The next highest vote getter was also a Democrat. The voters sent a message and someone needs to listen.