Rahway Mayor Resigns

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RAHWAY– Mayor Rick Proctor resigned from office on Tuesday afternoon, filing a one-sentence resignation letter with the city clerk’s office earlier in the day.

Mayor Richard

Without warning, Mayor Richard “Rick” Proctor quit Tuesday, ending a tumultuous 33-month tenure in which Proctor was found guilty in municipal court of soliciting a donation on municipal property, the state election commission hit Rahway Democrats with a $70,000 fine and the former freeholder found himself at odds with the party he led for nearly two decades as chairman.

The letter offered no explanation for Proctor’s decision to leave the position he was elected to in November 2010.

The City Council is expected to appoint someone to fill the remaining 16 months of Proctor’s term within the next 30 days. According to a report by the Rahway Rising blog, City Council President Samson Steinman is a likely possibility.

Proctor and the nine members of the City Council are all Democrats, though they were at odds for much of his term and Steinman has been a vocal critic.

In 2011, Proctor was accused of trying to influence the city business administrator to hire his wife for the city’s $105,000 per year health officer position, which Proctor had held before being elected. The mayor denied doing anything wrong, but was fined by the Local Finance Board in 2012. Proctor contested the board’s decision.

At the end of Proctor’s first year in office, the City Council voted to slash his salary from $65,000 to $20,809, which prompted the mayor to accuse the council of “trying to drive [him] out.”

The mayor was also fined earlier this year for improperly soliciting donations to pay a $55,000 fine for missing deadlines to file campaign finance reports with the state Election Law Enforcement Committee in 2006 when he was chairman of the Rahway Democratic Committee. Steinman filed the complaint against Proctor.

Republican Party Chairman Patrick Cassio complained that Proctor denied voters the opportunity to elect a new mayor by submitting his resignation letter past the 60-day deadline that would have prompted a special election.

“What a mess the Democrats gave us,” said Cassio. “A personal feud and zero leadership in City Hall.”

“They ran this man and then fought with him and our city government has been dysfunctional for over 3 years. I call that failure!” exclaimed Cassio. “Meanwhile the voters don’t even get a choice now. Instead, Rahway residents get a ‘replacement’ Mayor, Council President Steinman who was Proctor’s campaign manager. Another “hand picked” replacement from Jim Kennedy? Isn’t that what we just went through?”

City Attorney Louis Rainone said that by operation of New Jersey law, the City Council President will be the acting mayor while the City Council goes through the process of selecting a replacement to fill Proctor’s term.

“I’ve met with the City’s Clerk, Police Chief, Chief Financial Officer and Attorney to assure for the orderly transition of city functions,” Steinman said. “The City Council will act as quickly as legally possible to fill the vacancy, but in the interim I am confident that city officials are prepared to continue the day-to-day operations of the city under my direction.”

 

Proctor quits

Mayor Richard ‘Rick’ Proctor filed this one-sentence resignation letter with the city clerk’s office on Tuesday, offering no explanation for his decision.


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