SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township Council members unanimously voted Tuesday night to appoint Chris Killmurray mayor until the November election, taking the seat of the late Mayor Frank Gambatese.
“Thank you. I appreciate the confidence you have in me,” Killmurray said immediately following the vote. “I will do the very best I can.”
Mayor Killmurray served for many years as the deputy mayor under Gambatese, who passed away on March 25 at the age of 81.
He will now serve in that seat until there is an election in November for the seat and he is also vacating his regular council seat, which the Democrats now have 15 days to fill, officials said.
Democrats will now take a field of around a dozen interested parties and whittle that down to three candidates, one of which will be appointed to fill Killmurray’s council seat until the election in November.
Both seats will appear on the November ballot this year, and again during the normal election cycle in 2018, according to officials.
Both Democrats and Republicans must file petitions for this year’s election by Sept. 13, 55 days before the election, officials said.
Local council elections take place every-other year since the township changed its form of government in 1997.
Democratic incumbents Charles Carley, Joe Camarota and Jo Hochman all won re-election in November 2016 for their four-year seats.
All three expressed their support for Mayor Killmurray in his new position.
“You have big shoes to fill, but you can count on the three of us for our support and confidence,” Carley said. “We know you are up for the job.”
Camarota also said he had the “utmost faith and confidence” in Killmurray taking on the position and that Gambatese was the “best mentor” for the members.
“You will do a tremendous job and have our support,” Camarota said. “We work well as a team and will continue being a team.”
Hochman echoed the comments of her colleagues.
“Welcome to being our mayor,” Hochman said. “I know you will do a great job because you and Frank (Gambatese) were very close.”
All three also said they would miss Gambatese, who held the post since 2003 and was the longest serving mayor in township history.
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