PERTH AMBOY – In a surprise move, the city council chose Joel Pabon as its new president on Thursday as Mayor Wilda Diaz began her second term.
Councilman Kenneth Gonzalez was expected to be chosen as the body’s president, but he declined the nomination by Councilman William Petrick and seconded by Councilwoman Lisa Nanton. Instead, K. Gonzalez nominated Pabon for the position.
Just a week earlier, K. Gonzalez avoided censure for using a handicapped placard from a deceased relative to park in a restricted space. The resolution was defeated by a 3-2 margin in which he was allowed to cast the deciding vote based on advice from the council’s attorney.
Outgoing Councilman Fernando Gonzalez, who opted not to seek re-election, sponsored the censure resolution.
K. Gonzalez explained that the handicapped placard, which had been issued to his wife’s grandfather, was used when transporting the grandfather’s wife who is also disabled and came to live with Gonzalez and his family. He said he planned to apply for a new placard so there will be no future confusion.
At the Thursday’s re-organization meeting, new council members Fernando Irizarry and Lisa Nanton were sworn in.