BAYONNE, NJ -With two of his endorsed candidates unseating incumbents in the November 5 election, Mayor Jimmy Davis may be the biggest winner of all in the 2019 contest for seats on the Bayonne Board of Education.
On Tuesday the final tally was certified by the Hudson County Board of Elections showing that Denis Wilbeck, the sole incumbent in the race leading, a field of 14 candidates with 2,092 votes, followed by Jan Patrick Egan with 1,842 and Lisa Burke at 1,837 apiece.
Incumbents Charles Ryan and Carol Cruden, who ran on a ticket with Wilbeck, were defeated. A third candidate, Melissa Matthews, who also ran with the endorsement of Davis, did not come in the top three.
Wilbeck, a former school principal, won his third three-year term. Egan and Burke appear to have been helped by a large turnout of votes in the First Ward where Neil Carroll III, also endorsed by Davis, won in a special election for council.
Davis said that he endorsed the ticket this year because he wanted to see new membership that would be working with the new superintendent rather than be in constant conflict.
“People have seen over the last year this board nitpicking over minor issues instead of working for the betterment of the school district,” Davis said.
Davis added that the city has already developed a long-term plan but that the schools need to be working together because people look at the community schools if they want to move here.
Although he said he supported the referendum four years ago to switch from a school board he appointed to one that was elected by voters, he never intended for it to turn into a popularity contest.
“I knew the people wanted an elected board and so we will work for that I think the board will need a few years to bring it all together and get the right people in place. This election is part of that process,” Davis said.