The 5 members of the Maplewood Township Committee will hold a caucus on Tuesday night, December 18, to decide who will be Maplewood Mayor in 2019.
The mayor — whoever he or she is — will take the oath of office for one year on January 1, 2019.
Last year’s caucus may have generated some of the most riveting and, for some, stomach-churning live television to be broadcast locally: Dean Dafis, then a Township Committee member-elect, threw his support at the last minute from Greg Lembrich to long-time Mayor Vic DeLuca, apparently without notifying Lembrich beforehand. (Dafis himself said he had “never been more nervous.”)
Afterward, Lembrich expressed “complete shock and genuine disappointment at some of what was said tonight.”
As Village Green reported at the time, Dafis “indicated that he initially intended to support Lembrich and explained that he thought change in leadership was important and that the role of mayor should rotate among TC members. Dafis then however detailed that a number of issues had arisen this year that he felt would be better dealt with by maintaining the leadership of DeLuca as mayor. He said he felt that DeLuca was uniquely equipped to mentor future leadership and that he felt that Maplewood at this time needed DeLuca’s guidance.”
DeLuca has served as Mayor for 13 years, although his mayoral tenure has been nonconsecutive. He first took office as a TC member in 1997, served as Mayor from 2001 to 2003, was defeated in the primary in 2003 (due to fallout from a townwide property revaluation), was re-elected to the TC in 2006 and became Mayor again in 2009. No other current TC member has yet served as mayor.
Frank McGehee was elected Deputy Mayor for 2018. Nancy Adams served as Deputy Mayor in 2017.
Village Green has reached out to all five members (Lembrich and Nancy Adams were re-elected to the Township Committee on November 6) to ask if there is consensus this year. TC members either replied “no comment” or did not reply.
Note: As the caucus happens outside the business of the Township Committee meeting, it normally transpires immediately after the TC meeting has adjourned.