HIGHLAND PARK, NJ—New Brunswick's tiny neighbor to the north has a new Mayor, Gayle Brill-Mittler, a Councilwoman whose ascension to Mayor creates the need for another temporary appointment.
Brill-Mittler takes over for Gary Minkoff, who resigned earlier this month to pursue a work opportunity.
The new mayor's nomination was unanimously approved by the Borough Council at a special meeting last night.
Brill-Mittler said she will be elaborating on her platform and agenda at an upcoming July 1 council meeting, according to the Home News Tribune.
It is unclear if she will face a challenger in November's special election where she hopes to be given another year in office, before the next general election in 2015.
Prospective candidates have until 64 days before this year's election to file petitions to run against Brill-Mittler, who now enjoys the advantages of incumbency.
"I'm thrilled and ready to start the work that needs to be done," Brill-Mittler told New Brunswick Today adding that the two communities on opposite sides of the Raritan River have a lot in common.
Brill-Mittler, a Borough Council member since 2009, was one of three candidates recommended by the town's Democratic Party Committee. The other two were Councilwoman Susan Welkovitz and Councilman Gary Potts, according to sources.
Like in New Brunswick, being mayor is a part-time job. Brill-Mittler will earn a $6,756 annual salary.
Since 1995, she has run her own buiness All Colors LLC, a company that describes itself as a "full-service marketing company that helps you build your brand identity through print, promotions, and advertising specialty products."
According to the town's website, Brill-Mittler has been a Highland Park resident since 1978 and a graduate of SUNY New Paltz specializing in English and Journalism. The Home News Tribune's Susan Loyer reported that she said she "took the grassroots path."
Brill-Mittler is a former Chair of the Highland Park Democratic Committee, a founding member of the Highland Park Education Foundation, and has worked for the campaign to elect President Barack Obama, focusing on Jewish outreach.
Her Facebook profile indicates she is originally from Brooklyn, New York and also involved with another company based in Highland Park: Geebee Marketing Inc., which claims to be "the only U.S. toy manufacturer dedicated to creating African American themed games and puzzles."
Brill-Mittler has played key roles in the local government in recent years, according to her profile on the town's website:
Gayle served as Borough Council President in 2012 and currently serves as Chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee. Specific areas of current responsibility include:
· Liaison to Redevelopment Agency
· Liaison to Zoning Board
· Liaison to Planning Board
· Liaison to Main Street Highland Park
Additionally, Gayle’s commitment to improved communication throughout the Borough resulted in the formation of Highland Park’s first Public Communications Committee. This group has been responsible for the recent introduction of the Borough’s bi-weekly E-newsletter, Facebook page, Nixle messaging, and will the re-introduction of the Highland Park News in early 2013. Additionally, the HPTV cable station will revamping its programming and outreach.
Her departure creates a vacancy on the five-member Borough Council.
The Democratic Committee will have fifteen days to suggest three candidates to the four remaining Council members who will select their newest colleague.