LAWRENCE: Puliti named to post

Democratic committee fills council seat

In a meeting that took less than five minutes, the Lawrence Township Democratic Municipal Committee unanimously appointed former Township Councilman Greg Puliti to fill a vacant seat on Township Council last week.
    Mr. Puliti, who served on Township Council from 1996 to 2007, is filling out the remaining 10 months of the four-year term of former Township Councilman Mark Holmes, whose resignation took effect Dec. 28. State law says that because Mr. Holmes was a Democrat, the seat must be filled by a Democrat.
    The Lawrence Township Democratic Municipal Committee nominated Mr. Puliti, political newcomer Bernadette Gur and former Township Council candidate James Kownacki to fill the open seat. Mr. Kownacki also serves as chairman of the Democratic municipal committee.
    State law calls for Township Council to choose from among the three nominees within 30 days after Mr. Holmes’ resignation took effect. The deadline for the council to choose was Jan. 27. Since the council could not decide on a nominee, the matter was referred back to the municipal committee.
    Mr. Puliti, who also held the honorary post of mayor in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007, thanked the 18 municipal committee members who attended the Jan. 28 meeting. The committee is made up of one man and one woman from each of the township’s 21 voting districts.
    “I’m looking forward to (serving),” Mr. Puliti said. “We have a job to do and that’s where I’m going now (to the Municipal Building, for a special Township Council meeting to fill vacancies on several advisory boards and committees).”
    Mr. Puliti was sworn into office by Freeholder Pat Colavita Jr., who is a Lawrence resident and a former Township Council member, at the Municipal Building prior to the special Township Council meeting.
    Although Ms. Gur and Mr. Kownacki did not attend last week’s Democratic Municipal Committee meeting, Lawrence Township Democratic Municipal Committee Vice Chairman Sarah Crowley thanked them for their efforts.
    “This process (to fill the vacancy) has gone on for a lot longer than necessary,” Ms. Crowley said, alluding to Township Council’s inability to choose a successor for Mr. Holmes.
    The four remaining members of Township Council attempted to fill the opening at the council’s Jan. 20 meeting, but the effort failed when none of the three nominees received a majority vote. The 2-2 tie vote meant the decision would be thrown back to the Lawrence Township Democratic Municipal Committee.
    Democratic Mayor Pam Mount and Democratic Councilman Michael Powers voted to put Mr. Puliti back on Township Council at the Jan. 20 meeting, but Republican Township Councilmen Bob Bostock and Rick Miller voted no.
    The Republican councilmen nominated Mr. Kownacki, but that vote also was split 2-2. The Republicans voted for Mr. Kownacki, but the Democrats did not.