As expected, the Bayonne City Council voted to appoint Neil Carroll III to replace Tommy Cotter as the 1st Ward councilman at a brief special meeting this evening.
“It feels wonderful to be appointed by this crew: they have spent the last four years trying to turn this town around and make it excellent and they’ve succeeded so far and I’m proud to be able to continue that mission,” Carroll said in an interview with HCV.
“They have a beautiful vision and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Council President Sharon Nadrowski nominated Carroll for the appointment, with 2nd Ward Councilman Sal Gullace seconding the motion.
The vote passed 3-0, with Councilman-at-Large Juan Perez absent. He beat out more than a dozen other candidates and Cotter has moved on to the director of the Department of Public Works for a salary of $117,000 a year.
At just 27 years old, Carroll is the youngest councilman in Bayonne history. When asked about the criticism of being too young to handle the job, he said that his situation is not completely unprecedented.
“I am the youngest in history, but in the late 1980s, there was a gentleman whose standing behind me – Ben Constanza – who was 29 years old. What I would say right now is that this is what we need today in Bayonne. This is a generation that they’ve invited to take part in our government that’s been unrepresented in a while.”
As previously noted when pointing out that Carroll was the frontrunner to receive the council appointment, he is the grandson of prolific former Freeholder Neil Carroll, Sr.
The new councilman said that he is trying to keep his expectations realistic when thinking about living up to that legacy.
“It’s daunting: my grandfather casts a big shadow but it’s a good one. He spent his life and his career trying to better Bayonne, trying to do everything he can for his people, for the city, and it means the world that I’m able to try.”
Carroll is also the nephew of former Mayor Mark Smith, who he called “a good family man, a good relative and a great uncle” who did the best he could with his time in office.
Finally, Carroll noted that he wants to continue the progress by adding “his special brand” to fairs, programs, art festivals, which he hopes to both continue and expend, while still helping provide day-to-day services – such as keeping the streets clean.