Linden Mayor Derek Armstead appears ready to escalate his war with the local Democratic organization tonight by dumping State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) as the municipal prosecutor.
A resolution expected to be voted on tonight by the city council designates Deirdre Mason, a Scotch Plains attorney and East Orange public defender, to replace Scutari.
The move comes days after the Linden Democratic Committee voted overwhelmingly to submit three candidates to fill a vacant council seat that did not include the name Armstead preferred.
Paul Coates, Cynthia Apalinski and Aaron Howard – all allies of Scutari, the Linden Democratic municipal chairman and the Union County Democratic chairman – are in line for the 8th ward council seat left vacated on January 1 by Michele Yamakaitis, the new council president.
Scutari tried to take Armstead out in the June 2018 Democratic primary, but the incumbent ran off the line and won.
Armstead controls a majority of seats on the council.
In December, Armstead convinced the council to give him a 37% retroactive pay increase that bumped him to $100,000-a-year for the part time job.
Former Union County Freeholder Mohammed Jalloh, an ally of State Sen. Joseph Cryan who was dropped from the Democratic ticket last spring after backing Colleen Mahr for county chair against Scutari, is Armstead’s pick for assistant prosecutor.