BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Berkeley Heights Mayor David Cohen provided notice on Thursday that he is resigning as Mayor effective March 14, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. to become the Director of the Governor's Office of Employee Relations.
According to Council President Joe Bruno, a special election will not be held to fill the vacancy. Rather, the Berkeley Heights Republican Chairman, Dave Ronner, will provide a list of three candidates to the Township Council. A majority vote will determine the winner. The interim mayor will then serve as Mayor until Mayor Cohen's unexpired term ends. Since Mayor Cohen is up for re-election in November, the person who replaces Mayor Cohen will serve until the next Mayor is sworn in in January.
As to who may be on Dave Ronner's short list, Councilman Bruno said that he would consider having his name placed in nomination; however, he feels the best place for him right now is to stay as Council President. "I have a job to do as Council President. I will entertain being the interim Mayor and then running for a full term as Mayor but if they can find someone else to be the interim Mayor, that would be fine." He continued, "When I ran for Council President, I pledged to change the tone on the Council, have the Council adopt an Administrative Code and a fiscally responsible budget, as well as implement the township's Master Plan. There is an important leadership role that the Council President plays in these issues."
Bruno stated, "I would be flattered if my name was on the list and more flattered if my peers decided to vote that way." He concluded, "Whether I am the interim Mayor or not, I would strongly consider running for Mayor in November. While I'd be flattered to receive the nod of my peers to serve as interim Mayor, I'd rather serve as Mayor after getting the nod of the electorate."