By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Though Fair Haven’s Republican committee has suggested three candidates to fill the council seat left empty by John Lehnert, who committed suicide last week, the borough council has no intention of filling the spot on an interim basis, Mayor Mike Halfacre tells redbankgreen.
In fact, GOP officials had already begun the process of replacing Lehnert on the November 2 ballot after Lehnert told Halfacre about three weeks ago that he was ending his re-election bid, Halfacre says. Lehnert’s withdrawal had not previously been publicly disclosed.
“I think out of respect for John we should leave the seat vacant until the end of his term” on December 31, Halfacre said.
Halfacre said Lehnert told him about three weeks ago that a new job he was taking would not allow him enough time to serve as a councilman.
Lehnert had recently graduated from New York Law School and was awaiting the results of the bar exam, which he took in July, Halfacre said. Lehnert had served 14 years on the Fair Haven police force before retiring in 2006, when he suffered an arm injury. He won election in 2007 and was sworn in as councilman in January, 2008.
Rowland Wilhelm was put on the ballot shortly after Lehnert made his decision not to run, Halfacre said. Wilhelm and Council President Jon Peters will run uncontested on November 2.
The GOP committee submitted Eric Jaeger, Susan Sorensen and Wilhelm to the council to fill Lehnert’s spot on an interim basis.