RIVERSIDE — Former council member John LaMotte has been chosen by Riverside’s borough council to fill a vacancy left by an outgoing member.
He could not be officially sworn in at the borough council’s meeting Monday because mayor Joe Oberdorf was not in attendance. Council president John Novak said the mayor’s absence was a surprise to him because the appointment of the new council member was on the agenda. “He did not tell us” where he would be, Novak said.
When reached by phone after the meeting, Oberdorf said he was kept from the meeting due to an appointment with his granddaughter.
Oberdorf said the borough secretary is a licensed notary and could also perform the swearing in procedure in his absence. Novak said he was unaware of the secretary’s ability to perform such a function. He said the council would most likely wait until its next meeting, March 3, to swear LaMotte into office.
LaMotte was one of three candidates who submitted letters of interest to the borough council following the Feb. 3 resignation of council member Mike Maize.
“I think everyone here will agree that any one of these people will add value to council. Unfortunately we only have one opening,” Novak said before the vote.
Maize was reelected in November, but said job commitments would prevent him from being able to fulfill his duties as a council member.
LaMotte’s appointment is for a two-year term.
LaMotte previously served a four-year term on council but declined to run for reelection in November so he could run for mayor. LaMotte ran as the Democrat candidate for mayor of Riverside against Republican candidate Oberdorf, a former borough manger.
At the council meeting, LaMotte’s appointment to the vacant seat was proposed by council member Barb Kriner and seconded by council vice president Peter Fleming. Council member Lori Vastine-Steele nominated another candidate, Carolyn Bausch, but her movement died for lack of a second.
Fleming, Kriner and council members Caressa Compton and John Domanski voted in favor of LaMotte. Novak abstained from the vote.
“I love Riverside,” LaMotte said after the vote. “I’m just glad I’m able to serve the community where I was born and raised.”
Bausch, who holds a PhD in business management, has regularly attended meetings of the borough council meetings for the past year since she moved to Riverside.
Bausch was in attendance at the Feb. 17 meeting and was addressed by council members following the vote.
“I would like to thank Carolyn for her interest in becoming a borough council member. I think there’s a seat with her name on it in the near future,” Fleming said, to which Novak agreed.
Vastine-Steele also thanked Bausch for regularly attending meetings. “Thank you for being involved,” she said. Bausch said she would continue to attend in the future.
The third candidate for the vacancy was former borough council member Bob Betts. Betts served on council for more than two decades, but allowed his most recent term to expire at the end of 2013. When he heard of the vacancy that would be left by Maize, he said he would be interested in serving again if the council would have him.
The three candidates were interviewed one at a time at a special meeting last Monday, Novak said. They were interviewed by Fleming and Domanski and asked such as what they would do to change or improve the community.
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