If you want to be mayor of one of the coolest suburbs in the United States, opportunity is knocking.
That’s because if Democratic primary winner Ed Fitzgerald wins the general election for county executive in November, Lakewood—with its long-burning coolness recently noted by the uber-cool Travel + Leisure mag—will loose its mayor. And rumor has it that no one in the line of succession wants the job.
A recent communication from council president Kevin Butler seeking resumes from interested parties indicates that they’re at least preparing for the situation.
Like all cities, Lakewood’s charter has a plan for such things: If the Mayor should win higher office, or die, or for some other reason find himself incapable of doing the job, the city’s law director steps in. After that would come the finance director. Then comes public works director. After that the duty falls to the president of city council.
Law director Nora Hurley would neither confirm nor deny whether she’s interested in the job, stating to do so would be “premature.” Finance director Jennifer Pae didn’t return calls for comment. But word on the street is that neither wants to step into the world of politics.
Third in line, Public works director Joe Beno confirms that he doesn’t want the job, and says that to take it would amount to an approximately $10,000 pay cut. Indeed, any of the top three city administrators would be taking a significant pay cut to serve as the city’s mayor. The job pays about $73,000.
Council president Kevin Butler, who is fourth in line, confirms that he has no aspiration to become the city’s next mayor. His letter to council invites “members of the voting public” to apply for both the Mayor’s job (with the caveat that Fitz might not win), and for Nickie Antonio’s at-large council seat. Antonio, running unopposed for state representative, is sure to leave her Lakewood council seat behind.
Qualifications for both jobs are simple: you’ve got to live and vote in Lakewood. If you can meet those requirements, opportunity is knocking. And did we mention Lakewood is cool? — Michael Gill