Guttenberg to pick new mayor

The Guttenberg town council will meet either this week or next to decide on who will fill the office of former Mayor David Delle Donna, who stepped down late last month after his conviction on corruption charges.

The Municipal Democratic Committee submitted three names to the council: Margarita Batista; former Vasilios G. Scullous; and James Hannon.

The mayor will serve until November, when he or she will have to run again in a special election.

Batista unsuccessfully ran for school board last month on a slate supported by Union City Mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack.

Scullous has run in several local elections before. He challenged West New York Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega as a Republican for his freeholder post in 2005, ran again for the seat when Vega went to the Assembly, and ran for town council three times in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

Hannon, 74, is a Korean War veteran.

The council has until May 30th to pick a mayor. If they fail to do so, the decision will be in the hands of the town’s municipal committee.

Guttenberg is about a fifth of a square mile and has a population of about 11,000 – most of who reside in a high rise apartment complex called The Galaxy. It has one elementary school of its own.

But the town has some significance in an ongoing rivalry between Brian Stack and North Bergen Mayor/state Sen. Nicholas Sacco. Guttenberg and North Bergen share many services, and Stack has already made inroads by getting his allies elected to nine of the town’s 12 Democratic County Committee seats. The town’s council, meanwhile, is made up of Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) loyalists.

The Stack-allied Mayor could give him a foothold in Sacco’s territory. But the more important mayoral contest begins June 3rd, when voters pick their county committee men and women.

If the HCDO can win back a majority on the body over the Stack-allied members, then the HCDO allies will be able to pick the Democratic nominee for the full mayoral term in November’s special election.

But the HCDO-backed committee members will not be clearly identified as such on the June 3rd primary ballot. In one of the compromises of their tenuous peace agreement, Stack and Jersey City Mayor/HCDO Chairman Jerramiah Healy agreed not to put any committee candidates on the organizational line.

Guttenberg to pick new mayor