No clear favorite emerges yet for vacant council seat

Borough Council to select among three candidates Tuesday.

By: Jennifer Potash
   With a vote slated Tuesday to fill a vacant Borough Council seat, council members are keeping mum about a favored candidate.
   The vacancy on the all-Democratic Borough Council occurred when Councilman Joseph O’Neill was sworn in as mayor on Jan. 4.
   Following a meeting Wednesday evening, the Princeton Democratic Party’s Municipal Committee recommended, in alphabetical order, Jenny Crumiller of Library Place, Mark Freda of Fisher Avenue, and Andrew Koontz of Spruce Street, said Shirley Kauffman, vice-chairwoman of the committee. The committee is not recommending any one candidate over another on the list, she said.
   Alexander Street resident Anne Waldron Neumann, who also sought the position, was not on the list of recommended candidates.
   Council members say they are undecided on the candidates.
   Council President Mildred Trotman has "an idea" about whom to vote for but she declined to name her favored candidate.
   Councilman Roger Martindell said he wants to talk with his colleagues and the candidates before making up his mind.
   While close to a decision, Councilman David Goldfarb said he would like to speak with the candidate he currently favors first before making his intention public.
   Calling the choice "one of the hardest I have had to make in my life," Councilwoman Wendy Benchley said she, too, is undecided.
   She said she will make her decision based on the best fit between the qualities of the individual candidates and the needs on the council.
   Councilwoman Peggy Karcher could not be reached for comment Thursday.
   As mayor, Mr. O’Neill would vote only in the event of a tie.
   The candidates plan to lobby members of Borough Council before Tuesday’s vote. Ms. Crumiller said she was happy to make the cut and would like to speak with council members over the next few days to "get my last word in."
   Mr. Freda said he would reach out to individual council members to address any questions about his views. Mr. Freda, a former Borough Council president, served from 1986 to 1999.
   Mr. Koontz said he thinks it’s "always wise to contact the people whose votes you’re trying to get," and will speak with the five council members.
   Ms. Neumann could not be reached for comment Thursday.
   The new council member’s term will expire Dec. 31. In November, borough voters will elect a council member for the remainder of Mr. O’Neill’s unexpired term.