In a break in an ongoing seesaw of Union County wills, state Senator Nick Scutari’s side won this morning in superior court.
His pick for the Council vacancy in Linden – Paul Coates – will now be sworn into office, attorney David Minchello told InsiderNJ.
Union County Superior Court Judge Katherine Dupuis ordered Paul Coates be immediately sworn in as Councilman for Linden’s 8th Ward.
Scutari offered the following statement: “I am clearly disappointed in Mayor Armstead’s shameful and arrogant actions which led the city taxpayers down a path of owing tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, for an unnecessary legal fight, but pleased the judge saw this as a pure power grab by Mayor Armstead, a political bully who will stop at nothing to further his own political agenda, including wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
“The real tragedy is 8th Ward residents have had no representation for 134 days. This was shameful misconduct. On behalf of the Linden Democratic Party, I congratulate Paul Coates. Paul chosen to serve by the Official Democratic Committee. Paul owns a business in our downtown, is a member of the downtown Special Improvement District, and is eager to serve the residents of Linden.”
Said Coates: “The real winners in this case are the residents of the 8th Ward. 8th Ward taxpayers have been without Council representation since the resignation of the Councilwoman on January 1. My residents have been disenfranchised. I will be their voice on Council.”
Since the Mayor and City Council created the vacancy, he said:
– The Mayor’s allies on Council voted to reward politically connected employees with over $100,000 in raises. This is on top of the the mayor a 36% raise, retroactive to January 1, 2018. This resulted in a onetime payment of over $26,000 to the Mayor.
– 8th Ward Residents had no voice or vote on the municipal budget.
– The City Council ultimately adopted a budget that reduced road paving this year by 25%, despite ample need in for infrastructure improvements in the Linden.
– Council has fast tracked several redevelopment deals for several large apartment buildings in which politically connected developers and campaign contributor.
Per Judge Dupis’s order, Councilman-designee Paul Coates will be sworn in immediately.