Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop wants two legally troubled council members to abstain from voting on the replacement for former Ward B Councilman Phil Kenny, who resigned today after pleading guilty to corruption charges yesterday.
Council President Mariano Vega (soon to be at-large councilman, since he announced he’s stepping down as council president yesterday) was arrested in July for allegedly taking $30,000 in bribes. Councilwoman Nidia Lopez is having the validity of her election challenged because she claimed a tax exemption on her Florida home that was meant only for permanent residents of that state (she’s since agreed to pay over $30,000 in back taxes and fines to Florida).
“While I recognize that the remaining council will be responsible for filling the vacant seat with a temporary representative for the citizens in Ward ‘B,’ I think that both Councilman Vega and Councilwoman Lopez should refrain from voting for the replacement until their individual legal situations are resolved,” said Fulop. “To think that temporary council people will select a temporary representative, who will vote on important decisions, for the citizens of Ward “B” is not fair to the residents of the city. I would hope they both take the proper and fair steps in this matter and abstain from voting.”
The council has 30 days to pick a temporary replacement for Kenny, who will then have to run in a special election in November, 2010.