Conaty fills new seat on Rumson council


Staff Writer

RUMSON — A new member of the Borough Council was appointed at a special meeting last week.

John “Jay” Matthew Conaty was appointed to replace the late Councilman Tre Rowse, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer.

“He [Conaty] had been recommended by a number of different people, both on the council and people not involved in municipal government,” Mayor John Ekdahl said, adding that he has known Conaty for 15 years.

The standard procedure for filling an unexpired seat on the council is for the local party committee, the Republican Party Committee in this case, to submit three names for consideration by the council within 15 days of the vacancy.

The council then has 15 days to fill the seat.

In this case, the three choices named, who all serve on either the Planning or Zoning boards, were unavailable or unwilling to serve on the council at this time.

“He [Conaty] became an obvious choice,” said Ekdahl, “He has been thinking about running for some time and he has shown some real interest in the town.”

Conaty, 53, is a 20-year resident of the borough who worked on Wall Street for 25 years and is now retired.

His wife, Nancy, is a lifelong resident of the borough.

Conaty said that less than a week before he was to be sworn in, he received a phone call from Councilman Dennis Lynch, who asked him if he would consider taking the open seat.

Although Conaty has not been involved in municipal politics before, he has been a member of charitable and private club boards.

He said his first involvement with the borough came three years ago when his house burned down.

“I got to know, unfortunately, the police and fire departments,” he said.

He was exposed to municipal government when he and his wife decided to rebuild their home.

“As a longtime resident,” he said, “I am interested in how the town has changed — and it has changed dramatically since I’ve been here — and the future of the town.”

His term is due to expire at the end of December. Conaty said he will probably run for the seat at that time.

“But I guess I can change my mind,” he said.