Note: This is a corrected version. The initial story incorrectly quoted Carol Sheneck as referring to the resignation of former councilman Tim Smith. She actually refered to the death of former councilman Tom Smith.
ROXBURY, NJ – Succasunna Resident Jacqueline “Jaki” Albrecht is now a member of the Roxbury Mayor and Council.
Albrecht, a Republican, was chosen tonight by the council to take the vacated seat of retired former Roxbury Councilman Gary Behrens. The council voted unanimously in favor of the 51-year-old Albrecht, who was one of three people nominated July 6 by the Roxbury Republican County Committee as potential replacements for Behrens.
Albrecht was chosen over James Kennedy and William Egbert.
She is representing Roxbury’s Ward 2 and will remain on the council until at least the end of the year. Albrecht must run in the November general election to remain on the panel for the remaining two years of Behrens’ 4-year term.
“Thank you to everybody who is putting faith and confidence in me,” Albrecht said after being sworn in by Roxbury Township Clerk Amy Rhead. “I love my town so much. I feel I have a lot to offer and give back to this town.”
Albrecht, who works as a private caregiver/companion to senior citizens, has three grown children and is married to Jim Albrecht, known to many in Roxbury as the leader of local cover band Hoi Polloi.
“We lived our lives and raised our children here and don’t want to live anywhere else,” said the new councilwoman. “This is a great opportunity for me and I thank you very much.”
Although he voted for Albrecht and said nothing critical during the voting process, the governing body’s sole Democrat, councilman Dan Kline, was not pleased about the way his colleagues handled the Behrens replacement.
After the meeting, Kline said he wasn’t provided the names and contact information of the three GOP nominees until about 1 p.m. on Monday. He said he did manage to interview Albrecht, Kennedy and Egbert prior to the Tuesday night meeting, but would have liked more notice.
“I do think there needs to be more transparency in the process,” Kline told reporters.
Responding after the meeting to Kline’s complaint, Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo asserted Kline was just playing politics during an election year. Noting that the names of the candidates were published in a Friday, July 7 TAPinto Roxbury article, DeFillippo said Kline “had plenty of opportunity” to interview Albrecht, Kennedy and Egbert prior to tonight’s vote.
During the public portion of the meeting, another Democrat – Roxbury School Board Member Carol Scheneck, a former councilwoman – said the council should have interviewed the nominees in public. She conceded there is no law requiring that, but she said it was done in the past.
“There was a vacancy when (former Roxbury Councilman) Tom Smith died,” Scheneck said. “We interviewed the candidates … in public and I thought that was the appropriate way to do it.”
Before casting their votes for Albrecht, many on the council said all three nominees would have made fine council members. However, Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee pointed out that choosing Albrecht “brings something we currently don’t have up here and haven’t had since my last running mate: A woman on the council.”