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Long Beach City Council looks to fill vacant seat

Long Beach City Council President Len Torres speaks

Long Beach City Council President Len Torres speaks during a council meeting on Monday, May 9, 2016. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Long Beach City Council will begin taking applications to fill a vacant council seat.

City officials are asking for anyone who has lived in Long Beach for more than two years to submit a resume and cover letter for a potential nomination.

The four remaining council members, Len Torres, Scott Mandel, Anthony Eramo and Anissa Moore, will vote to appoint the next council member to replace Nassau County District Judge Eileen Goggin.

Council members will begin reviewing applications submitted to LBCityCouncil2017@longbeachny.gov. Council members will review applications during the next week and plan to conduct interviews with finalists to nominate an appointee for the next council meeting, set for Jan. 17.

The next council member will fill the remainder of this year’s term until a November election. The City Council opted not to pursue a special election because it would leave the seat vacant until it was set by the governor’s office.

Torres, who is Long Beach City Council president, said prospective appointees are asked for a letter of intent to say what they would contribute and how they plan to improve the city. He said the appointee would not just be a placeholder and is being groomed to be elected in November.

“I would like to see someone with experience in government and a background of integrity with no other dogs in the hunt. We’re going to be very selective,” Torres said.

The all-Democratic council is expected to select a local Democrat who fits the council’s views and has previous public service experience, council members said Tuesday night.

Several candidates and civic leaders have come forward, but council members have not publicly endorsed anyone.

“I don’t want someone who just wants to be on the council. I want someone on our team who shares the vision of the city and does not look back,” Eramo, Long Beach City Council vice president, said. “I hope it’s someone everyone can agree on and I think we can come to a consensus.”

Elected officials said the new appointee could potentially bridge a gap in the council’s party divide or further add to the one-sided majority.

Council members have been split between the two Democratic parties, including the city’s Independent Democrats and the Nassau County-backed Long Beach Democratic Committee, which supported Moore’s election in 2015.

Moore said she hopes the council can bridge differences, but it would still at best lead to a 3-2 vote in different factions. She said she hopes to appoint someone who is not afraid to speak out and who won’t run away from conflict.

“We all have a heart for Long Beach and want to move the city forward,” Moore said.

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