The New Jersey League of Municipalities today tossed Wharton Mayor Bill Chegwidden as their incoming president after he refused to give up the presidency of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.
Chegwidden has essentially squatted in his NJCM post for nearly three years, blocking the ascension of East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov from assuming the post as part of a regular rotation. Mironov is the first vice president and was supposed to succeed Chegwidden in 2020.
Instead, Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky will become NJLM president.
In a meeting today, the NJLM nominating committee, chaired by Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, decided to deny Chegwidden, the first vice president, the chance to succeed outgoing president Janice Kovach, the mayor of Clinton.
Some officials believed that Chegwidden faced a potential conflict leading both the League of Municipalities and the Conference of Mayors.
Millstone mayor Raymond Heck has now moved into Chegwidden’s post and will assume the presidency in November 2022. The second vice president position previously held by Heck remains vacant – possibly to facilitate a peace treaty with Chegwidden down the road.
Highland Park Mayor Gail Brill Mittler is the new third vice president; if the traditional rotation of one-year terms continues, she will become president of the League of Municipalities in November 2024 – unless she gets moved up one year.
Pikolycky was first elected to the Woodbine Borough Council in 1984 and was elected twice as a Republican and once as an independent. He was elected mayor of the 2,218-person municipality in Cape May County in 1994 as an independent, re-elected in 1998 as a Republican, and again in 2002, 2006 and 2010 as an independent. He won re-election as a Republican in 2014 and 2018.
A dual officeholder for six years, Chegwidden wanted to run the League of Municipalities and the Conference of Mayors simultaneously.
Chegwidden was elected to the Wharton Borough Council in 1996 and re-elected in 1999. He was elected mayor in 2001 after defeating incumbent Leo Finnegan, Jr. in the Republican primary by 51 votes. He is the longest-serving mayor in Morris County.
In 2006, Chegwidden was elected Morris County Freeholder. He was re-elected in 2009, lost a GOP State Senate primary to incumbent Anthony R. Bucco by a 2-1 margin in 2011, and was ousted in the 2012 Republican freeholder primary by 240 votes.