In what appeared to be an 11th hour move, newly re-elected Democratic Councilman Austin Ashley pulled an upset when he made a motion to nominate Marc Leibman, the attorney representing him before the Zoning Board in the United Water property development, for Borough Attorney. This motion unseated the yet-to-be-seated choice of Lisa Aljian, wife of River Edge Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo, whose name already appeared on the agenda as Borough Attorney appointee.
Perhaps more surprising than the motion itself, was who supported Ashley in this move -- Republican councilmen Diego Robalino and Dominic Colucci. Ashley's own party affiliates -- Randi Duffie, Hedy Grant and Michael Putrino -- voted against his motion, resulting in Mayor Ann Subrizi having to break the tie.
Before casting the tie-breaking vote, Subrizi voir dired each prospective attorney. Aljian said that although she had experience as the borough's Rent Leveling attorney, she had no experience as a Borough Attorney.
Leibman, a partner in the Fort Lee firm Kaufman, Bern, Deutsch and Leibman, said that although he has not personally served as Borough Attorney, members of his firm have served various municipalities in that capacity and he has sat in for them when they were unavailable. Leibman has also served as Board Attorney to Zoning and Planning boards in Hoboken, Paramus, Fair Lawn, Dumont, River Vale and Woodcliff Lake, and was the municipal prosecutor for the Borough of Leonia.
Leibman said that if appointed to the position of Borough Attorney, he would withdraw from representing Ashley in the matter of the United Water property.
After hearing from both attorneys, Subrizi cast her tie breaking vote with Leibman. Leibman was also appointed to the position of Tax Appeal attorney, while Aljian was appointed to the position of Rent Leveling attorney.
The evening began with the swearing in of Austin Ashley by Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, while Michael Putrino was sworn in by County Clerk John Hogan.