MILLVILLE – The first formal vote to fill a vacancy on City Commission resulted in the post remaining vacant.
City Council voted 2-2 on a resolution to replace James Quinn, who resigned on Monday to become a Cumberland County freeholder, with Robert Tesoroni.
The vote fell along familiar lines: City Commissioners Joseph Sooy and Lynne Porreca Compari voted in favor of Tesoroni’s appointment. Mayor Michael Santiago and City Commissioner David Ennis voted against the measure.
Sooy said he backed Tesoroni’s appointment because Tesoroni finished sixth in the 2013 City Commission election. City Commission has five members.
“Every election is a snapshot in time,” Sooy said. “The last time the voter’s spoke, this is kind of what they spoke. Mr. Tesoroni was the next-highest vote getter. I believe that this is the right thing to do, to give it to the next highest vote getter.”
Porreca Compari, who ran in 2013 on a slate with Sooy and Tesoroni, said that Tesoroni “has more than proven this dedication to the city.”
“I feel that he would be more than qualified and a good commissioner,” she said.
But Santiago said that the process of replacing Quinn should be “opened up to the public.”
“It’s been two years,” he said. “If the public feel like you should be the person in this seat, we’ll see you in November.”
City Commission is up for election in November.
Ennis said he thought that Tesoroni would “do a fine job” on City Commission.
“However, my decision is to do the right thing, and I do think my best decision would be to say no at this time.”
Quinn’s resignation took effect at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. City Commission has 30 days to fill Quinn’s vacancy. The post will remain vacant until the end of the year if City Commission can’t agree on new member.
On the city government web site, the resolution was accompanied by a letter from Tesoroni, who listed his qualifications for the post. They included attending City Commission meetings for more than 6 years, serving in a supervisory capacity in the state Department of Corrections, and being the sixth-largest vote getter in the 2013 City Commission election.
Tesoroni’s appointment was backed by one local resident during the meeting.
Ellen Van Hook told City Commission that Tesoroni was “deserving of getting this spot on the commission.”
“He is knowledgeable,” she said. “He is a very good man.”