Ocean Gate Mayor Paul Kennedy, who is facing charges from stealing money from parking meters and selling township property and pocketing the proceeds, will be ousted from his post on Saturday for failing to show up for the last eight weeks.
New Jersey has a state law that allows public officials to be removed after eight weeks of unexcused absences. Kennedy has not attended meetings since his arrest on March 18.
Council President David Kendrick will become acting mayor until the council picks someone to serve until Kennedy’s term runs out at the end of this year.
The process is complicated. Statutorily, the local Republican county committee would submit the names of three candidates to the borough council, who would pick one of the names to fill the remainder of Kennedy’s term.
But both seats on the Ocean Gate GOP county committee are vacant – Republican municipal chair Linda Kennedy resigned after her husband was arrested – so there is no local party organization to pick three names.
The law gives the county committee 10 days to send the names to the council. Two candidates are unopposed in the June 7 primary, but the deadline to submit names in May 24.
Leaving Kendrick as mayor is messy.
His selection as mayor would require Kendrick to vacate his council seat. That would trigger a November 22 special election for the remaining 25 months of his council term. The new county committee would pick his successor – and the special election candidate – and theoretically, Kendrick could be the candidate for his own seat.
Kennedy is not a candidate for re-election. Councilwoman Laura Padham Iaria faces Bob Curtin in the Republican primary.
If the council gives the post to Iaria, the vacancy would also trigger a November special election for the remaining 25 months of her term.