A final count in Nutley leaves Mayor Joseph Scarpelli and Commissioner Mauro Tucci in a tie for first place in a town where the top vote-getter gets to become the mayor.
Scarpelli led Tucci on Tuesday by 19 votes, but the gap narrowed to zero after 778 new vote-by-mail ballots were counted. They each have 4,586 votes.
John V. Kelly III, the grandson of an iconic former mayor and assemblyman, captured an open seat for Town Commissioner. Kelly had led Maria Hamlin by 105 votes, but has now won by 52 votes.
Al Petracco was re-elected to the Board of Commissioners, but fell 37. votes short of returning to the mayoral post he held from 2012 to 2016. Thomas Evans came in fourth for another term on the five-member board, but was never in the mix for the top slot.
Scarpelli and Tucci will now either need to work out a deal for mayor or mount a legal challenge to some of the rejected ballots from Tuesday’s all-VBM election.
Tucci served briefly as mayor following Joanne Cocchiola’s resignation in 2012, but his time in office was short-lived; he ended up in fourth place in the May municipal election after Nutley voters punished him for leapfrogging over others to fill the vacancy.
He was replaced by Petracco, who was outpolled four years later by Scarpelli, a former Essex County freeholder.