Home>Campaigns>Red Bank councilwoman may remain in office as court considers challenge, judge says

Superior Court Judge David Bauman. (Photo: NJ Globe).

Red Bank councilwoman may remain in office as court considers challenge, judge says

By David Wildstein, March 21 2022 10:28 am

Newly-appointed Red Bank Councilwoman Angela Mirandi may remain in office pending the outcome of a legal challenge to her appointment last month, Superior Court Judge David Bauman ruled today.

Some Red Bank Democrats are challenging the process used  fill the seat of Councilman Erik Yngstrom,  who resigned on January 19, alleging that Democratic municipal chairman Edward Zipprich, who is also a councilman, didn’t consult the entire county committee before submitting three names of possible successors to the council.

Bauman wants all briefs submitted by March 31 and could decide the matter as early as April 8.

But the judge said no compelling argument was made to remove Mirandi before that.

The case pits two top election lawyers against each other: Ted Maciag is representing Councilwoman Kathleen Horgan, a Democrat who wants the appointment of Mirandi invalidated, and Daniel Antonelli, who is representing Zipprich.

Antonelli argued that removal pending the outcome of Bauman’s final decision would cause Mirandi irreparable harm.

Bauman pointed out that none of the parties involved detailed how anyone would be harmed by Mirandi remaining on the council or by her departure.   He said no detail about specific agenda items being considered by the borough council before the next hearing were provided.

Maciag says the case sends a message to other municipal chairs across the state that the law on filling vacancies is fungible.

“If he doesn’t get caught, he gets away with it,” Maciag said.  “If he does get caught, he says it doesn’t matter.”

The lawsuit filed by Horgan and Kate Okeson,  the local party secretary, said that Zipprich did not allow elected county committee members the chance to participate in the selection of possible Yngstrom successors, but instead set up a “sham” panel comprised of “hand-picked loyalists.

Antonelli said the statute was followed and that Mirandi was “lawfully seated.”

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