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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Nicholas Scutari, right, administers the oath of office to Linden councilman Paul Coates

Linden nears agreement on council vacancy

Special meeting tonight to approve settlement

By David Wildstein, May 02 2019 12:31 pm

It looks like Linden is about to fill a city council seat that has been vacant for four months.

The council has set a special meeting tonight to discuss a settlement in a lawsuit that has prevented the choice of the local Democratic organization to replace Michele Yamakaitis, who left her 8th ward seat on January 1 to become the new council president.

The issue went to court after mayor Derek Armstead, who doesn’t get along with the county committee, refused to accept any of the party choices.  He said he wants the seat to remain vacant until a November special election and has refused to seat Coates.

Superior Court Judge Katherine Regan Dupuis, in no rush to see the seat filled, has been working on the case for months.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the Linden Democratic municipal chairman, has maintained that the process for filling a municipal council vacancy is that municipal committee of the party that won the seat submit three names to submit to the governing body. They can either pick one name, or return the choice to the political party.

Sources with knowledge of the proposed settlement said that if the council approves the deal tonight, the municipal committee would hold another meeting and submit a name to the council, which would agree to seat that person.

The seat is expected to go to Paul Coates, who is also a candidate in the June primary to run in the general election.

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2 thoughts on “Linden nears agreement on council vacancy

  1. The seat should remain vacant until the general election of special election can be held. Neither party can be trusted to submit a competent experienced candidate without any obligation to the submitting party. The Democratic Party seems to think that their reps serve the party instead of the residents. This nonsense has to stop.

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