Franklin Lakes February 11, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 Mayor breaks deadlock, names Lota council president by Frank J. McMahon Franklin Lakes Mayor Maura DeNicola has acted to break the deadlock over the election of a council president. After several tie votes by the borough council since its reorganization meeting in January, DeNicola broke the deadlock last week by voting for Councilwoman Nathalie Lota. Lota had been nominated by Councilman Brian Trava. At its work session last week, Councilwoman Paulette Ramsey nominated Councilman Michael Friscia for the position, and Councilman Steve Marcus seconded that motion. Ramsey, Friscia, and Marcus voted for Friscia, but Trava, and Councilwomen Lota and Leslie Greer voted against him. DeNicola abstained from voting on the nomination of Friscia, which Borough Attorney Douglas Doyle advised was tantamount to a no vote, and the motion to select Friscia was defeated. Lota was then nominated by Trava, and that motion was seconded by Greer. But the council effectively ended up in another tie vote on that motion because, although Marcus abstained from the vote on the motion to appoint Lota, Doyle advised that an abstention from that vote was the same as a no vote. As a result, the council again ended up in a tie vote, which was ultimately broken by DeNicola. “I voted for Councilwoman Lota because I do not view council president as a ceremonial position,” DeNicola said after the meeting. “Dr. Lota has the ability and dedication to be a very effective working council president.” The appointment of the president of the council was first tabled at the January reorganization meeting of the mayor and council when the council deadlocked in its vote. DeNicola did not cast a vote at that time, and the matter was tabled. The council again failed to reach agreement on a choice of a council member to take on the duties of the position of president at its next public meeting in January. The matter was again tabled until the governing body’s work session last week. Ramsey originally nominated Friscia, a member of the borough’s Republican Club, which has opposed DeNicola in past elections, at the reorganization meeting. Ramsey said it was the tradition of the council to rotate the council president’s position, and since Friscia “graciously” stepped aside for her the previous year, she felt it was his turn to be the president. But Trava explained his nomination of Lota, who is a member of the borough’s Republican Forum, which has supported DeNicola in past elections, saying it was based on his opinion that the job of council president requires a lot of time and promptness and the ability to talk about all the town’s business without the need to recuse oneself. He said Lota has that time. “Tradition is great, but when it comes to time, you need to be able to do it,” Trava said. Ramsey responded to Trava, saying, “No one is more responsible than Mike Friscia.” According to the borough code, the council must annually elect from its number by a majority vote a president of the council who will preside at all of its meetings when the mayor does not preside. The council president holds the office for one year and until the next annual meeting of the council. He or she has the right to debate and vote on all questions before the council. If the mayor is absent from the borough for a period of three days, or for any reason is unable to act, the president of the council must perform all the duties of the mayor during his or her absence or inability. The mayor, in case of his or her intended absence from the borough for more than three days at any one time, must notify the president of the council in writing of that absence, whereupon the president of the council will become acting mayor from the receipt of notice and continue to act in that capacity until the mayor returns. An informative program covering various topics regarding income taxes will be given at the Franklin Lakes Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. This is program is free of charge. Come prepared with questions, and listen to the short program regarding federal and state income tax laws and requirements. No registration is necessary. The Franklin Lakes Library is located at 470 DeKorte Drive in Franklin Lakes. 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