The Rahway City Council unanimously appointed Joseph D. “Joe” Gibilisco to the governing body during a special meeting held to fill a vacant seat.
The Sixth Ward vacancy was created when the governing body approved then-Council President Raymond Giacobbe, Jr. to serve the remaining year in the mayoral term of Samson Steinman, who resigned on Christmas Eve after an eventful year.
The new councilman has been the owner of the Lehrer Gibilisco Funeral Home in Rahway since 1985. He is a graduate of Woodbridge High School who earned a B.S. in Business Education from Missouri Valley College and also graduated from American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City.
Gibilisco has been recognized through the years for service on boards of numerous local organizations, including the Rahway Geriatric Center, Rahway Education in Excellence, Rahway PAL, Rahway YMCA, Rahway Day Care Center and the Union County Red Cross.
He is also a member of the Rahway Kiwanis, Rahway Elks, Rahway Planning Board, Rahway Honorary PBA, Rahway Safety Council and the Rahway Chamber of Commerce.
Gibilisco and his wife, Maryann Williams, a prominent real estate broker/manager, live on William V Young Drive, off Lake Avenue in Rahway. Their son and three grandchildren live in Florida.
City Council members also unanimously Giacobbe’s appointment as interim mayor, despite some jockeying for the spot among other Democrats, including Councilwoman Jennifer Wenson Maier and Councilman David Brown.
Neither Wenson Maier nor Brown earned an endorsement from the Municipal Democratic Committee, which was empowered, within 15 days from the resignation, to recommend three candidates for appointment by the governing body to replace the mayor.
Members of the local Democratic Party met and selected Raymond Giacobbe, Jr., Delores Parson and Derron Palmer ahead of the Jan. 8 deadline, which is set by state law, to present the governing body with as many as three nominees to serve the 12 months remaining in Steinman’s term.
Parson is vice chair of the city’s Democratic Party and Palmer is its secretary, but neither seriously pursued the office.
Steinman crashed a city-owned car twice, under suspicious circumstances that involved no other moving vehicles. While no injuries were involved and police issued citations, some residents were skeptical about explanations given by officials.
Voters will have a chance to weigh in on June 5, when each party will nominate candidates for mayor and three at-large council seats. The filing date for petitions is April 2.
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