An Admiral’s Hill lawyer and member of the Licensing Board was elected District 8 councillor following a four-ballot contest at city hall Monday night.
Dan Cortell was sworn in immediately following the winning vote announced by city clerk Debbie Clayman.
Moments later, he took his seat and joined the council for the scheduled meeting.
“I am honored. I am humbled. I am pleased,” Cortell said following his swearing in.
Cortell takes over the District 8 seat left vacant when Ron Morgese resigned last month.
The City Charter required a special election to fill the seat expeditiously.
Although some members of the city council were not in favor of the city council picking Morgese’s successor, the public and open balloting Monday night by the council lent an air of excitement and politics to the election.
Cortell won the seat on the fourth ballot, although his election was made a fait accompli on the third ballot when Councillor at large Roseann Bongiovanni gave her vote to Cortell after voting for candidate Mike Nappo on the first two ballots.
In the end, it was Dan Cortell 6 votes and candidate Joe Roman 4.
Moments before the balloting was to begin Council President Leo Robinson notified everyone in the chamber that candidate and former Councilor John O’Brien had withdrawn his name from contention that afternoon.
All four candidates – Cortell, David Rudolph, Roman and Nappo were allowed a five-minute speech in order to sum up their candidacies prior to balloting.
All four men thanked the council for an open and unambiguous process during their presentations.
Roman called the experience of vying with others to serve in public office here as energizing and
Nappo said he, too, was grateful for the opportunity to be heard, a sentiment expressed by Rudolph.
Ironically, Cortell ended his remarks this way: “If you elect me I promise not to disappoint you.”
Several councilors praised the candidates before the balloting began.
Councillor Marilyn Vega Torres thanked all the candidates.
“This is not easy to do. I thank you all,” she said.
Bo Giovanni echoed her colleague.
“This has been an interesting and intriguing experience. It is not easy to run for city council. It is unfortunate that residents of District 8 couldn’t have made this decision,” she added.
“You all have the willingness and the ability to do the job,” Councillor Calvin Brown said.
Councillor Paula Barton requested a closed ballot, a request instantly denied by Robinson.
Barton later explained the political end of the process was hard for her to endure.
“I love my job but I don’t like the politics,” she said.
On the first ballot the votes were largely evenly distributed although the end was already in sight. Cortell got 4, Roman 3, Nappo 2 and Rudolph 1.
On the second ballot, there was some movement ending with Cortell with 4, Roman 4, Nappo with 2 and Rudolph out of it.
On the third ballot, Cortell got 5 to Roman’s 4 and Nappo’s 1.
Nappo was dropped from the balloting.
This set the stage for the fourth ballot, which Cortell won 6-4 against Roman.
Robinson, Brian Hatleberg, Mike MeKonnen, Calvin Brown, Marilyn Vega-Torres and Roseann Bongiovanni voted for Cortell.
Anthony Pellegrino, Paula Barton, Kathleen Bishop and Richard Maronski voted for Roman.