Update: Buena Republicans have acknowledged their lack of understanding of the statute. Richard Giovinazzi will be removed, and Democrats will submit three names. There will be a special election for the unexpired term in November.
Gina Andaloro was elected to the Buena Borough Council in 2021 as a Democrat, switched parties in 2022, and then resigned.
The council appointed a Republican, Richard Giovinazzi, to replace her, but that’s probably a no-go since, by statute, the right to fill a vacancy belongs to the political party that won the election
But instead, the Buena GOP county committee submitted three names, including Giovinazzi, to the council.
Now Democrats are crying foul, since the post belongs to them.
“As Buena Borough notified the Republican Party of the vacancy and solicited nominees for an interim council member from it, the Atlantic County Democratic Committee members in Buena were denied the opportunity to select nominees for the seat and the members of the Democratic Party in Buena were likewise denied the right to seek that office,” said Colin Bell, an attorney for the Democrats.
Bell gave Buena ten days to fix the problem.
“We are hopeful that you will swiftly correct this situation without the need for the ACDC to resort to litigation,” he said.
Andaloro, a customer service supervisor at Wawa, and her mother, Patricia, a former councilwoman and borough clerk, ran as a mother-daughter Democratic team in 2021 and unseated two GOP incumbents, Rosalie Baker and Joseph Mancuso, Jr. Baker had served on the council for 30 years.
Patricia Andaloro also switched parties, leaving no Democrats in local government.