Superior Court Judge Katherine Regan Dupuis today reversed her own ruling today, finding that Paul Coates should be seated as the new councilman from Linden’s 8th Ward – but she stopped short of issuing a final order until she can schedule a new hearing to determine if county committee members were properly noticed.
The Linden Democratic organization submitted the names of Coates and two others to the city council as replacements for Michele Yamakaitis, who left her 8th ward seat on January 1 to become the new council president.
But mayor Derek Armstead, who doesn’t get along with the county committee, refused to accept any of the choices. He said he wants the seat to remain vacant until a November special election and has refused to seat Coates.
Dupuis has scheduled a conference with lawyers for next week to determine the date of the hearing.
Meanwhile, residents of the 8th Ward have been without representation since January 1.
Most longtime political observers know exactly what happens in that situation: the vacancy goes back to the county committee, who picks one of the three in what is effectively a special election.Dupuis ruling