RAHWAY — While the City Council goes through the process of selecting a replacement to fill Mayor Richard ‘Rick’ Proctor’s term, City Council President Samson Steinman will be in charge.
City Attorney Louis Rainone said that by operation of New Jersey law, Steinman became the city’s acting chief executive when Proctor’s resignation took effect at 4:30 p.m. today because he leads the governing body.
Although Proctor gave no indication that he was leaving office prior to turning in his resignation, Steinman took charge without missing a beat.
“I’ve met with the City’s Clerk, Police Chief, Chief Financial Officer and Attorney to assure for the orderly transition of city functions,” said Steinman, in a statement distributed by City Clerk Jeffrey J. Jotz at 5:00 p.m. “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.”
Sources at City Hall say Proctor handed his keys and a terse resignation letter to Assistant Business Administrator Virginia Deige, and then left the building.
Under the Rahway’s form of government, all executive and administrative authority is vested in the Mayor, who appoints an administrator and various department directors with the consent of the City Council.
Steinman, the municipal Democratic Party chairman and a councilman representing the city’s Sixth Ward, has been president of the governing body for several years.
Patrick Cassio, the city Republican Party chairman who was defeated by Proctor in the 2010 mayoral race, complained that if Proctor resigned before Sept. 5, a special election would have been called to select a replacement but now the new mayor will be appointed to serve the remainder of his term.
“That’s not right,” Cassio said. “Proctor was a hand-picked mayor and now we’re getting another one.”
Steinman is employed as executive director for the Union County Performing Arts Center, a non-profit organization that operates out of the former Rahway Theater and the newly constructed Hamilton Stage. He previously held positions in the Linden city treasurer’s office and as a state Motor Vehicle agency administrator.
A Rahway High School alumnus, Steinman earned baccalaureate and post graduate degrees from Pace University in New York. He served as a member of the Board of Education before he was elected as a city councilman in 2004.
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