LAKE COMO, NJ — Brian Wilton is stepping down as mayor of Lake Como to join the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy.
Wilton, who made the announcement during last night’s borough council meeting, will serve as a counsel in the administration’s authorities unit, which oversees and monitors the operations of more than 50 independent state and bistate agencies on behalf of the governor.
“I have a new opportunity as an attorney in Gov. Murphy’s administration, and I accepted it starting July 9,” said Wilton, who is in his final year as Lake Como mayor and was to run for re-election this fall. “This has been the most rewarding experience of my adult life. I never dreamed growing up in Hudson County that I would be the mayor of a town at the Jersey Shore.”
During the June 19 meeting, he thanked Lake Como residents in placing their trust and faith in him in “helping to keep the borough on the right path.”
As a believer in living by the mantra to leave a place a better place, “I hope I did that in Lake Como,” said Wilton, who collectively served for 13 years in Lake Como — as council member and council president, planning board member and then as mayor for nearly four years.
During his mayoral tenure, Lake Como negotiated a 10-year police contract with neighboring Belmar after residents in 2016 voted down a major tax increase, resulting in the elimination of the borough’s 10-member force.
A supporter of shared services agreements among municipalities, Wilton also played an instrumental role earlier this year when the borough outsourced its fire and first aid services to Belmar “in the interest of public safety” — a response to declining response rates by the volunteer South Belmar Fire Department and South Belmar First Aid Squad.
A partner in the Wilton Law Firm in Middletown, Wilton also serves as municipal prosecutor in Red Bank and Freehold Borough. In 2017, he lost a bid for a Monmouth County freeholder seat.
With Wilton’s departure as mayor, it will now be up to Lake Como Democratic Municipal Chairman and former Mayor Michael Ryan to provide the remaining members of the all-Democratic council with the names of three individuals to serve as mayor until the end of the year.
If a mayor is selected from those members — Douglas Witte, Kevin Higgins, Virginia Kropac, John Carvelli, Hawley Scull and Christopher D’Antuono — then the names of another three individuals will be provided by Ryan to appoint a person to fill that Democratic council member’s unexpired term.
Another Democratic mayoral candidate will also need to be named, to run uncontested in the November 6 general election since there is no Republican candidate.
In March, Matthew Doherty, mayor in neighboring Belmar, left that borough’s top elected post to join the Murphy administration as executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority
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