The line of succession, it seems, does run pretty much straight to Grace Cangemi.
After losing a close race for the governing body in November, Cangemi will be nominated tomorrow to complete the council term of Kaye Ernst, who quit in January to move to Pennsylvania.
Mayor Pasquale Menna says he’ll nominate Cangemi at a special meeting of the council to be held at noon. He’s informally polled the governing body, and expects approval, he says.
Though Cangemi emerged immediately as the leading candidate to succeed fellow Republican Ernst, Menna said at the time that her selection was not inevitable.
“This is not a monarchy, and Grace is not the crown princess to the abdicated queen,” Menna told redbankgreen, thus giving us an excuse to doctor Cangemi’s photo with a crown.
But the other two names put forth by the local Republican party with Cangemi’s apparently stirred no support among the majority Democrats.
One was Stephen Fitzpatrick, a regular attendee of council meetings who has focused keenly on questions of campaign contributions by developers, attorneys and others to the Democrats. The other was Anthony Tamburri, who told redbankgreen the night his name was entered that he had, in fact, already withdrawn. He subsequently reconsidered and threw his hat back into the ring, Menna and Curley said separately.
Like Cangemi, both Fitzpatrick and Tamburri submitted resumes to the council. But unlike Cangemi, neither man articulated any sort of “vision” for Red Bank, Menna said today.
“Whether or not I agree with that vision really is of no consequence,” Menna said. “The other two had no vision whatsoever. One person is uni-faceted, and I’m not even sure he has a grasp of the issues. And the other person didn’t express anything other than the fact that he’s paying too much taxes.”
Cangemi, he said, “undertook a credible race, and those who voted for her should have the benefit of that.”
Cangemi, who is on vacation, could not be reached for comment about the nomination, and is not expected to be present for tomorrow’s vote. She previously told redbankgreen that she would accept any outcome from the process.
“I’m willing to go for it,” she said at the time. “To have this dropped on me in this way was startling, but I feel I owe it to the people who voted for me.”
Menna said he did not mention Cangemi Monday night in calling for the special session because Councilman RJ Bifani had just returned from a trip and hadn’t had a chance to see Tamburri’s resume. Tomorrow’s unusual daytime meeting was scheduled to accomodate Menna, who is leaving for a short vacation in the Italian Alps Thursday evening.
If approved as expected, Cangemi’s swearing-in will be scheduled for the next regular council session, at 7:30p March 26.
Ernst resigned just over a year-into her two-year term, which expires Dec. 31.
In the November election, seats held by Cangemi, Bifani and Council President Sharon Lee will be up for grabs.