Luis Quintana appointment as Newark mayor on hold as not enough council members show

By Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger
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on October 31, 2013

Newark Council President Luis Quintana's expected appointment as interim mayor was put on hold this morning.


NEWARK — The city council was an hour late and a vote short this morning in appointing an interim mayor.

An emergency meeting had been called Wednesday night to appoint Council President Luis Quintana interim mayor after Cory Booker resigned to be sworn in as U.S. senator today. However, only four members were in attendance, and the council lacked a fifth vote.

Booker has left a void, literally. The entire city cabinet is in Washington D.C. for his swearing-in – and so are councilmen Ronald Rice and Carlos Gonzalez, officials said.

Council members Ras Baraka, Mildred Crump and Quintana all spoke briefly after the meeting was called off, saying they hoped political reasons didn’t keep the rest of council from the meeting.

“I don’t know if they went fishing or hiking or overslept,” Quintana said after the meeting was canceled for lack of a quorum. “Today it’s like a ghost town in the city.”

“It’s a sad day for Newark,” Crump said. “I hope it’s not political trickery.”

Rice was also available by Skype to take the vote this morning, with a monitor in his place on the dais.

Not at the meeting were Council members Anibal Ramos, Carlos Gonzalez, Augusto Amador and Darrin Sharif.

Quintana, on the council since 1994, has reportedly gotten the okay as interim mayor from five members of council until the May nonpartisan race, The Star-Ledger reported. Quintana has said that he has no plans to seek the mayor post in the May election.

“I want to be the gatekeeper,” Quintana said this morning.

An hour after the meeting, Ramos held a short press conference from his North Ward campaign headquarters. He was at a long-planned meeting with business owners at the time of the meeting, he said - and Gonzalez was down in the nation's capitol for the Booker ceremony. The emergency meeting was called too late Wednesday to change plans, Ramos added.

Ramos still supports Quintana for interim mayor over the next seven months, he said. Whether Quintana is "acting" or "interim" mayor today has no bearing on his responsibilities or functioning of the city, the councilman added.

"I don't see the sense of urgency," he said, adding it was "wrong to call it a controversy."

Ramos, Baraka, Sharif and former Board of Education member Shavar Jeffries are all running for the mayor’s seat.

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