Now former Kearny Mayor Al Santos said goodbye at last night’s council meeting where his portrait was unveiled at Town Hall, one day after being confirmed as a Hudson County Superior Court judge.
While Santos had written a concise resignation letter that went into effect Monday at 3 p.m., he penned another one shortly thereafter to express his thoughts on serving as the West Hudson town’s chief elected official for 23-and-a-half years.
“This was an extremely hard decision for me. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your mayor. However, in the past two years the demands of the office have taken a toll on my well-being,” Santos said after his portrait was unveiled at the beginning of the meeting.
“After weeks of personal reflection, I came to the realization that I had put my personal life and professional life on ‘pause’ in order to fulfill the duties of mayor. I need to ‘un-pause’ those parts of me.”
Being the only mayor since the new millennium, Santos noted that he’s seen a lot: 9/11, a recession, hurricanes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other side of the coin, he expressed gratitude in being able to take part in the town’s 150th anniversary, baseball and softball leagues, parades, flag raisings, 4th of July celebrations, as well as performing nearly 2,000 weddings for town residents.
“Thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives. I have done my best to govern by building consensus and serving with kindness and decency. I hope the next ,mayor does the same,” he continued.
“When I made mistakes, I acknowledged them and sought to correct them. To persons I may have offended in my capacity as Mayor, I ask for forgiveness.”
He ended with a famous quote from the late Archbishop Oscar Romero:
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
This was the first meeting where now former Council President Carol Jean Doyle served as acting mayor and the Kearny Democratic Committee, which had been chaired by Santos, must now select three candidates to run in a November 7th special election.
Doyle has not announced whether or not she will seek to maintain the seek, while 2nd Ward Councilman Peter Santana said in a Facebook post that he’ll be running.
“This is a broad and diverse community, there are many qualified individuals, the council included, who are well suited to represent the town as a whole. Not only am I one of them, but I believe I am uniquely qualified to do so,” he wrote.