BRADLEY BEACH — Mayor Larry Fox and the borough council are again at odds over the power to make and approve appointments, following the council’s announced intent to strip the mayor of his authority to appoint acting administrators.
The council introduced the proposed borough code amendment on Nov. 8, setting up a Dec. 6 public hearing and vote that members say is designed to undo the mayor’s Sept. 28 appointment of former Councilwoman Meredith DeMarco as acting borough administrator.
The council had voted 3-1 against her permanent appointment on Sept. 13. Eleven days later, on Sept. 28, Mayor Fox notified the council that he would name Ms. DeMarco on a temporary basis, despite the council’s objections. She resigned her council seat on Sept. 30 and accepted the position, effective Oct. 1.
Both sides claim that an Aug. 16 ruling in an earlier dispute over appointments supports their position on this amendment to the borough code.
State Superior Court Judge Richard W. English ruled in a lawsuit filed by Mayor Fox that the borough council had exceeded its authority by attempting to introduce appointments of an engineer, auditor and labor attorney in May without recommendations from the mayor.
Referring to the ruling, Councilman Alan Gubitosi said on Nov. 14, “The court ruled that the council cannot nominate anyone,” but that the council has the right to exercise advice and consent. He accused the mayor of “circumventing the council’s authority … to use this loophole in which he reappoints a temporary acting BA for three months at a time indefinitely.”
Mayor Fox, who cast the only vote against the introduction of the proposed change on Nov. 8, acknowledged that his intention is to keep Ms. DeMarco in the administrative post.
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