The Essex County Democratic Committee today is expected to select veteran longshoremen's leader Gerald Owens to fill a vacancy on the freeholder board created by the ascent to Congress of Donald Payne, Jr.
A general organizer with the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA), Owens joined the ILA Local 1233 in 1958, while working as a longshoreman in Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.
“He will fill the vacancy,” Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen said of his longtime friend, a resident of South Orange.
According to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, there will be an election next year for the unexpired term, and then there will be a 2014 election for the full, three-year term.
Thigpen has received over 30 resumes of people expressing interest in the seat. Sources say Owens is expected to only hold the seat on a temporary basis. LIUNA labor leader Eddie Osborne remains the establishment favorite to eventually take possession of the seat for a full, three-year term.
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“Receiving $74,000 in severance pay is entirely inappropriate and unjustifiable. No elected official is entitled to sick or vacation time. You don’t put out your hand and beg, you raise your hand and say ‘Thank God I was healthy.' There’s no reason for anyone to collect money on the way out the door or for overtime.” - Council President Andre Sayegh, candidate for Paterson mayor.- PolitickerNJ.com
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