CHATHAM, NJ – The resignation of Mayor Nelson Vaughan after Tuesday’s defeat to Council Member Bruce Harris caught many members of the community off-guard, but none more so than the members of the Democratic Committee, who say they were “surprised” by the news.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Chair of the Chatham Borough Democrats Edward DiFiglia said: “Most of the Committee members learned of his resignation via third parties or The Alternative Press, who broke the story early last evening."
The Chatham Borough Democrats met Wednesday night to discuss a letter received from the Borough’s Municipal Clerk, Susan Caljean, which requested, as per New Jersey state law, that the committee submit to the Borough Council the names of three potential candidates to fulfill the remainder of Vaughan’s term.
“This is not a situation that the committee had ever hoped to find itself, but after considerable debate, the committee felt compelled to honor this request,” DiFiglia said.
This morning the committee recommended Nicholas Eck, Douglas Herbert, and Marcy Wecker as potential candidates.
Wecker served as Vaughan's runningmate for Chatham Borough Council. Familial obligations prevented her from participating fully in the campaign or in the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum on Oct. 17. She is an attorney who also serves as the Chairwoman of the Community Garden Committee and formerly acted as the Chairwoman of the Land and Historic Conservancy Committee.
Herbert, also an attorney and Wecker's husband, made a bid for Congress in 2010 but lost to incumbent Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.
Nicholas Eck, who lost a 2008 run for Borough Counci to Harris and Jim Lonergan, is a current volunteer on the borough's Communications Committee. He also stepped in to serve as the Democratic Committee's Chairperson in 2009 after the sudden death of the late Martha May.
The Council now has 30 days to choose one of the proposed candidates.
Harris, who won Tuesday's election and is a senior council member, will serve as Acting Mayor until Council President Lonergan returns from vacation on Sunday.
DiFiglia urges the council to act quickly: “The Committee is aware that should the Council choose to allow all 30 days to elapse before making their choice that the appointed mayor will have an incredibly brief tenure; however, we are fulfilling our obligations to the town to submit these names. I urge the Council to move swiftly in picking Vaughan’s successor."
In his statement DiFiglia thanked Vaughan for his service, “despite the turmoil of the past 48 hours.”