The Rahway Democratic Municipal Committee elected a new chairman on Monday night with Kevin O’Brien succeeding Mayor Samson Steinman as leader of the city’s majority party.
More than three years after slashing the previous mayor’s pay by two-thirds, City Council introduced a measure that would restore the annual salary.
The City Council last night unanimously selected Samson Steinman to serve the final 15 months of Rick Proctor’s four-year term. Steinman, the 6th Ward councilman and City Council president, had been acting mayor since Proctor resigned on Sept. 10.
The nearly two-year battle within the city administration is coming to an end — City Administrator Peter Pelissier is on the way out, along with $163,000 – but will remain as redevelopment director.
Continue reading City administrator on the way out
I’ve been invited to participate next week in a panel discussion about redevelopment and since it’s been a few months since we had a Rahway Rising happy hour, maybe you’d like to consider it and join us.
The Young Community Development Professionals Association (YCDPA) and New Jersey Emerging Arts Leaders will host the discussion on how cities are using arts to redevelop, specifically looking at efforts in Rahway to spur downtown redevelopment. The panel will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, at Nancy’s Towne House, 1453 Main St. Admission is free and will include a question-and-answer session.
The panel will include former Mayor and former Arts District executive director James Kennedy and Rodney Gilbert, founder and CEO of Yendor Productions, a Newark-based consulting firm that develops and produces arts education and programming and events.
Almost $125,000 in funding by the Redevelopment Agency has been spent for opening the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts, according to an annual status update provided to the agency.
In another instance where the City Council and Mayor Rick Proctor parted ways, the governing body on Monday night voted unanimously (9-0) to override his veto of an ordinance that would have established an “anti-nepotism policy” within the city’s personnel policies.
“Never in a million years did I expect an official in Rahway would veto” an anti-nepotism ordinance, 6th Ward Councilman Samson Steinman said at Monday night’s meeting. He cited an anti-nepotism bill at the state level, introduced by Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth), and reiterated a statement from the assemblywoman about the need for such legislation.
Proctor and the City Council sparred earlier this year over allegations that he tried to get his wife hired as the new health officer, a position he held for several years before becoming mayor. The council originally adopted the ordinance Nov. 14 and the mayor vetoed the measure (O-33-11) on Nov. 23. In his remarks at the Nov. 14 meeting, Proctor said he found it odd that the co-sponsor of the city’s anti-nepotism ordinance was the “same council member who called me in June begging for a job for his child this summer,” referring to 1st Ward Councilman Robert Rachlin, who seconded the measure with Steinman as the primary sponsor.
Former Mayor James Kennedy had an interesting comment about the veto in today’s Star-Ledger story: “What the heck is he thinking?” Proctor was Democratic municipal chairman for many years during Kennedy’s tenure as mayor. “Just when you thought you’d heard it all. The veto was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in politics,” Kennedy told the Ledger.
In a memo to the city clerk Nov. 23, Proctor outlined several reasons for his veto, including exposure to lawsuits based on racial and religious discrimination and jeopardizing the city’s status as an equal opportunity employer. He also believed it conflicts with the open competitive process set forth by the state Civil Service Commission and is discriminatory “on face value by eliminating potentially qualified job candidates solely on the basis of relationship.”
Hiring of personnel originates with directors and the business administrator, not the mayor and council, so Proctor argued that influence would be exerted at that level. “If the ordinance is going to be more than just window dressing…the scope should be expanded to include department directors and administrator at a minimum. Even a cursory review of nepotistic relationships among city employees will support this argument,” he wrote.