For the second time in seven years, Fair Haven Councilman Chris Walrath is stepping down, again citing work and family obligations as distractions from his public duty.

“This will be my last council meeting,” Walrath announced at the end of a two-hour council session last night, eliciting gasps from the audience. “My head is not in it right now,” he said.

He apologized for not finishing out his term, which runs through 2008.

Mayor Mike Halfacre said he’d been aware of Walrath’s thinking and had been trying to talk him out of resigining for three months. He praised Walrath’s service.

Walrath, 48, is an an attorney. His firm, Gluck Walrath LLP, has an office at 21 East Front Street in Red Bank.

He served on the council from 1994 through 2000, and rejoined the body in May, 2003 as an appointee, taking the seat exited by Jeffrey Dobken, who also resigned citing workload reasons after just four months on the council. Walrath was re-elected unopposed in 2005.

Walrath’s wife, Nancy Walrath, recently began her fifth term on the Board of Education. They have three children.

“I did it because I enjoyed it,” he said of his service.

How does the council slot get filled? This from an email to redbankgreen this morning from Halfacre:

Chris’ resignation will be effective at the next Council Meeting, May 21. The Republican Committee in town will then have 15 days to submit 3 names to the Borough Council, from which the Borough Council will vote as to who will be appointed.

That person will have to run in the November elections for the last year of Chris’ term.

No candidates have come forward yet, and although some names have been mentioned, I don’t sit on the Republican Committee, I have no idea where they stand on anyone. I should probably not say the names out loud.

That’s Walrath at right above, talking to a resident as Councilman Jon Peters looks on.

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