New Hoboken Council prez is Theresa Castellano

New Hoboken Council prez is Theresa Castellano

July 02, 2007  Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - The first day of the new fiscal year began with three new City Council members - and a new council president and vice president.

The loudest cheers from the crowd of about 150 at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony at City Hall were reserved for the new members - Second Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth Mason, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer and Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham.

But applause also rang out as City Clerk Jimmy Farina swore in re-elected First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano, Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo and Sixth Ward Councilman Angelo "Nino" Giacchi.

The new council then voted unanimously to appoint Castellano as its new president for a one-year term, replacing Second Ward Councilman Richard Del Boccio, who did not seek re-election. Giacchi was appointed vice president, replacing Councilwoman-at-large Terry LaBruno.

Castellano said she encourages teamwork and input from the public, but also promised to be a tough steward for the City Council.

"I have a soft voice," Castellano said. "But I carry a very big stick and I am not afraid to use it."

Zimmer was sworn in yesterday despite an effort by outgoing Councilman Christopher Campos to block her appointment. Campos, who lost to Zimmer in last month's runoff election by just eight votes - 893 to 885 - has filed a lawsuit contesting the results of the election, saying a dozen ballots were counted that should have been rejected, and a dozen votes weren't counted that should have been.

Campos sought an injunction preventing Zimmer from being sworn in until the case is heard, but on Friday, Superior Court Judge Maurice Gallipoli, who is scheduled to hear the case at the end of July, ruled it wouldn't cause "irreparable harm" if she joined the City Council, even if the election's outcome was later reversed.

Campos didn't attend yesterday's hearing.

"He (Campos) has every right to follow the legal process," Zimmer said. "But I have confidence that I will remain the City Council person."

In its next order of business, the council started the new fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, by voting 6 to 2 with one abstention to approve a temporary 2008 budget.

Cunningham and Zimmer cast the "no" votes and Mason abstained.

Cunningham said he wanted to find ways to cut the budget before approving it.

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