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Michael Rieber Chosen as Deputy Mayor

Rieber becomes Deputy Mayor despite being in the minority party.

New Livingston Mayor Rudy Fernandez broke a longstanding tradition on Tuesday by selecting a member of the minority party to serve as his deputy.

In what could be considered a surprise development, Michael Rieber, a Republican elected to the council in 2010, became Deputy Mayor.  Rieber is now expected to ascend to the position of Mayor in 2014.

"When you go to Washington D.C. or you go to Trenton, your interests are going to be different than a guy in a different county or a different state," Rieber said after the meeting.  "Here, our interests are the same, which is making our town the best it can be.  So why do you need to be a Republican or Democrat to do that."

Rieber said he was informed of Fernandez' decision on Monday.  The decision was kept quiet until announced at the meeting.

"This was something (the council) discussed and we thought it would be best for the community," Fernandez said after the meeting.  "Really, that's what it came down to.  It came down to what was best for Livingston and what was best for us moving forward."

Fernandez said that while Rieber may be a Republican and himself a Democrat, they generally have agreed on the majority of decisions made by the Township Council the past two years.

"Quite frankly, (Michael and I) have rarely disagreed," said Fernandez.  "If you go back and look at our voting for the past two years, we've had over 400 votes and I think there was only one vote we were different on.  We work through all of our differences before we get out there.  While we may have different thoughts and different opinions, they're not that diverse and we're always able to reach an agreement."

wetochwink January 02, 2013 at 01:05 PM
"Here, your interests are the same, which is making our town the best it can be. So why do you need to be a Republican or Democrat to do that." Congratulations to both gentlemen! It takes out of the box thinking and compromise to make progress. I wish both and town council well making our town a better place this year and for years to come.
Bob January 02, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Wow, This is amazing! Real progress being made toward some sort of maturity and fairness in Livingston. Obviously the result of Santola having left the council to better men.....and women. One thing is for sure, those that are now in power won't have to worry about getting trampled on by Santola to get his picture in the Livingston Tribune week after week. Has anyone ever loved himself more?
Jennifer Feldsher January 02, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Wow, I am amazed and delighted to hear of this decision. I am hopeful that with this decision, a new chapter begins in our town -- one in which our elected officials welcome diversity and appreciate it as a sign of the diversity in our community. Livingston is a town and our leaders are members of this town and residents and they should be respected for that and for trying to make this town better -- no matter what their view on a particular issue. I am happy to see that partisanship is giving way to compromise and I hope a new energy takes over the council -- one devoid of the negativity displayed by certain former "tenured" leaders who are no longer on the council, whether through attrition or popular vote. Good luck to the members of the 2013 town council and great start to the year!
Zach January 04, 2013 at 01:26 AM
This town, this state, and this country will get nowhere without both parties coming together. This is great news!!

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