Middlesex County News

South Brunswick Cancels Tuesday Night Council Meeting As Community Prepares To Honor Late Mayor Gambatese

The late South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, left, during the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce's 'Meet the Mayors' event last year. Credits: Charles W. Kim Photo

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Township officials announced Monday that the scheduled Township Council meeting for Tuesday night is cancelled as the community prepares for funeral services for Mayor Frank Gambatese.

Gambatese, 81, passed away early Saturday at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick following a brief illness.

He was in the middle of his fourth, four-year term leading the 42-square mile municipality of about 48,000 people.

Sign Up for E-News

Funeral arrangements are scheduled with a viewing from 3-8 p.m. Tuesday and a funeral mass at 10 a.m. Wednesday, all taking place at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, located at 10 Kingston Lane in Monmouth Junction.

The council meeting was initially scheduled for 7 p.m. with a budget meeting preceding the regular meeting.

That meeting is now rescheduled to take place prior to the scheduled April 4 meeting, according to a notification email from the township.

As the community mourns the popular Democratic mayor, accolades for his service to the community continued to pour in.

“We are saddened by the loss of South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese,” Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Lina Llona said in a statement Monday. “Mayor Gambatese was a strong advocate for Middlesex County's business community and advanced economic development policies in his town. As mayor, he attracted hundreds of new businesses into the township including Target, Best Buy and Coca-Cola and also promoted open space preservation, leading the effort to preserve a 60-acre property that was once the historic Princeton Nursery. The site still features unique plants and historic buildings to this day.”

She said Gambatese embodied what it means to be a local mayor with a global approach, and understood that working with neighboring towns and addressing policies in a holistic way was necessary for a truly sustainable community.

“We were fortunate to have Mayor Gambatese join us for our ‘Meet the Mayors’ economic development series where he discussed his approach to governance,” she said. “His leadership style is unmatched and we will miss him as a valuable partner in Middlesex County. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, and we will celebrate his life in public service and commitment to his community by carrying forward his legacy.”

Township officials said that shuttle busses from the municipal building on Ridge Road would be provided to the services.

Officials are also considering what happens now.

It is believed that Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray will become acting mayor, at least for the short term, but it is not yet clear what will happen with the vacant seat.

Normally, the Democrats would appoint someone to the seat and then a special election would take place in November for the unexpired one-year term of that seat.

The fact that it is the mayor’s seat, however, may complicate the issue.

Mayor Gambatese was only the second directly elected mayor in township history, as well as the longest serving, some 14 years.

When the township changed its form of government in 1997, 11 candidates ran for the four council seats and the mayor’s seat.

Since that time, local council elections are every-other year with three seats up in one election and the mayor and the remaining council seat coming up two years later.

Democrats Charles Carley, Joe Camarota and Jo Hochman just won re-election in November of 2016, making the next election for the mayor and Deputy Mayor Killmurray due in 2018 with no council race this year.

Petitions for local partisan elections have a deadline of early April, and anyone seeking those seats must have their petitions in by then to appear on the June primary ballot.

That deadline is just about a week away.

Township Attorney Don Sears is looking at the options and is likely to issue an opinion in the coming days, according to officials.

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at ckim@tapinto.net or nwells@tapinto.net and click here to express your support for local news today.

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android - Click here for iOS .

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


East Brunswick's Girl Scouts Work With Young Woman's Busy Schedule

March 22, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Have you wanted to join a Girl Scout troop, but just don't have the time? Check out this out. Busy teens can be Independent Girl Scouts -- all the programs and awards without the scheduled troop meetings. Teen girls can do badge work, attend events, travel, earn awards or do community service on their own time. (And ...

Freeholders Endorse Armed Security in all Somerset County Schools

March 23, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Following the Parkland, Fla school shooting last month in which 17 students and staff were killed, Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire Thursday announced that the freeholder board will fund a second armed school resource officer at the county Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, and urged every school ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 24

Black Diamond Billiard's, Union

Ladies 9-Ball Pro-Am by the Garden State Pool Tour

Sat, March 24

Black Diamond Billiard's, Union

Ladies 9-Ball Pro-Am by the Garden State Pool Tour

Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Middlesex County College - Center Cafe C, Edison

Mission 22 United in the War Against Veteran ...

ELCR to Host Webinar: ‘How to Use and Understand ELCR’s 'Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities'

March 22, 2018

LEXINGTON, KY — Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), in partnership with My Horse University, announced a new webinar “How to Use and Understand ELCR’s “Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities” guide. Author and planner Christine Hughes, AICP, will show viewers how to navigate and use the new guide.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, March ...

Travel Spotlight Charity Event - North Plainfield Firefighters will host their 15th St. Baldrick’s Day head-shaving event on March 24

March 23, 2018

The North Plainfield Firefighters will host their 15th St.Baldrick’s Day head-shaving event on March 24 at 1 P.M. at fire headquarters.

The annual event welcomes volunteer “Shavee’s” into the firehouse to brave-the-shave as a sign of solidarity with kids who lose their hair to cancer treatments. A small but meaningful and significant ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...