EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—At the East Brunswick Township Council meeting on February 22, Dinesh “Danny” Behal was sworn in to fill the vacant seat formerly held by Sterley Stanley.
Behal is is a real estate broker and property manager who works in Edison and is listed as the President of Professional Properties Management LLC, based in Piscataway.
The move is the latest in a chain of events sparked by the election of Nancy Pinkin, an East Brunswick resident who served in the State Assembly from 2014 through 2020, and won a five-year term as Middlesex County Clerk in the November election.
Stanley, who won a four-year term on the Council in that same election, was chosen by Democratic Party Committee members to take Pinkin’s seat in the New Jersey State Assembly, forcing him to resign from the Council position.
Stanley, along with Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak of Edison and State Senator Patrick Diegnan of South Plainfield, now represents the eight towns in Middlesex County’s 18th Legislative District.
Stanley became the first South Asian representative in state government to hail from Middlesex County. He defeated Joseph Coyle, an Edison Councilman, who also sought the Assembly seat, by a vote of 189-136, held in a telephone meeting of the Democratic committee members in the district.
Because Stanley is a Democrat, the members of the East Brunswick Democratic Organization were then responsible for naming three potential replacements, from which the Council’s remaining four members could appoint a successor.
Two other men – Jason Friedman and Liwu Hong – were also nominated by the East Brunswick Democrats for the vacant seat. The decision to appoint Behal was made unanimously with Councilman James Wendell making the motion and Councilman Michael Spadafino making the second.
Councilman Behal was supported by his wife and son by his side as he took the oath of office at the beginning of the meeting, which was conducted remotely using the “zoom” software platform.
Behal has been a member of the East Brunswick Library Board, and currently the Secretary of the Township’s Zoning Board.
In his brief acceptance speech, he thanked the council members, and said he is ready to help carry on the vision of Mayor Brad Cohen, who was re-elected in November to a four-year term along with Stanley and Spadafino.
When Councilman Behal was asked what he hopes to accomplish during his term, he responded: “Whatever is needed for this town. I’ll try to do the best for East Brunswick.”
“We work as a team. There’s no ‘I’ in team,” said Council President Sharon Sullivan.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.