A Superior Court Judge today permitted a candidate who missed the filing deadline for Hillsborough Fire Commissioner by one day to be on the ballot for the November 2 general election.
Marian Fenwick-Shaffer, whose husband, longtime volunteer firefighter William Shaffer died in the line of duty on July 14, will now face off in a three-way race for two fire commissioner seats against Peter Michael Carone and Patrick Buckley.
“Having more candidates available for choice by the public certainly should be a benefit,” said Judge Thomas C. Miller. “It gives the public an opportunity to choose from three rather than two, which I see as best.”
Carone and Buckley did not oppose Fenwick-Shaffer getting on the ballot and County Clerk Steven Peter, while not supporting the move, had no objection. Miller said that weighed into his decision.
Miller ordered that a new drawing be held and that the Somerset County Clerk print the ballots with the names of all three candidates.
The county clerk, Steven Peter, is due to commence mailing vote-by-mail ballots tomorrow. Hillsborough will be a few days late.
Bill Shaffer was the assistant fire chief of Hillsborough’s Fire Company #2. He suffered a medical emergency after putting out a car fire. He had helped his wife collect signatures on his petition prior to his death.
Fenwick-Shaffer said in court papers that she believed the filing deadline to be July 29. She filed on July 27, only to learn that the deadline was the previous day.
Hillsborough holds non-partisan fire commissioner elections concurrent with general elections.