Republicans take control of Belmar borough council

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Belmar, New Jersey Mayor Mark Walsifer being sworn-in to office as Mrs. Walsifer looks on, 01/05/2019. (STEVE VWEXLER/THE COAST STAR)

BELMAR — Assuming power for the first time in decades, borough Republicans extended a gesture of bipartisanship on Saturday, selecting the borough council’s lone Democrat, Thomas Brennan as council president for 2019.

The move came at the borough’s annual reorganization meeting, which was highlighted by the public swearing-in of Mayor Mark Walsifer, who had been the lone Republican on the council before a GOP sweep in the November election.

Signaling a fast start to his administration, Mayor Walsifer told the packed gathering at borough hall, “We have done a lot of work so far since the election.

Newly-elected councilwoman Patricia Wann was also sworn in at the meeting.

Councilman James McCracken, who also chairs the borough’s Republican committee, nominated Democrat Brennan to serve as council president.

“As a Republican, I am excited to have the majority on this council,” Mr. McCracken said, “but the most important issue is that we put Belmar first, we put Belmar residents first and we put this town first.”

Mayor Walsifer defeated Democrat Brian Magovern, who had served as mayor since last April, following the resignation of former mayor Matthew Doherty, a Democrat who left to join the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.