BEDMINSTER TWP. – In the first mayoral change in six years, Township Committeeman Larry Jacobs has been informally chosen by the all-Republican Township Committee to serve as mayor for 2019.
Jacobs was a 4-0 choice in a straw poll to succeed Mayor Steven Parker, who will leave the governing body at the end of this year after declining to run for a fourth, three-year committee term.
Jacobs is expected to be formally selected and sworn in at the committee’s annual reorganization meeting in January.
Participating in the straw poll were Jacobs, Committeemen Doug Stevinson and Colin Hickey, and Committeewoman-elect Renee Mareski, a Republican who was invited to briefly join the dais.
In voicing their choice, Stevinson said “gladly aye,” Hickey said “enthusiastically aye,” and Mareski said “absolutely aye.”
Committeewoman Staci Santucci was absent. Mayor Parker presided over the straw poll but as an outgoing committee member, did not participate in the decision.
Afterward, Parker congratulated Jacobs.
The decision was not a surprise. Jacobs, who is the committee’s senior member after Parker, has run meetings in the mayor’s absence.
As for how he felt about the honor, “A little trepidation, especially following this guy because he’s done a great job the last six years,” Jacobs said just after the meeting while seated next to Parker. “There’s large shoes to fill.”
“Hopefully I’ve learned a little on how to manage a meeting and deal with the issues that confront us here,” he said.
Jacobs, of Hillside Avenue, is completing his sixth year on the committee. He was elected to a third, three-year term in the Nov. 6 general election when he and Mareski defeated Democrats Denise King and Jacob Caplan.
He is an environmental attorney with the Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer law firm in Woodbridge. A township resident for 22 years, he and his wife, Mimi, a former Bedminster Elementary School PTO president, have four children who have attended the elementary school and Bernards High School.
The township has had a mayor since 1952 when a state law changed the old title of committee chairman.
The mayors since then have been: Abram Ten Eyck, 1952-61; John Kean, 1962-68; Albert E. Winkler, 1969-77; Paul Gavin, 1978-85; Robert Lloyd, 1986-88; Joseph Cirona, 1989-91; James Sullivan, 1992-93; Cheryl Seiferheld, 1994; Joseph Metelski, 1995; Leo Johnson,1996; Don Cross, 1997-2001; Metelski, 2002-03; Robert Holtaway, 2004; Amey Mesko, 2005; Holtaway, 2006-12; and Parker, 2013-18.