While there was no mention of filling the noticeably unoccupied seat at Monday night's Little Silver Borough Council meeting, plans are in place to temporarily fill the vacancy until a new member is elected in November.
According to Borough Attorney John O. Bennett III, who also serves as the county's Republican chair, he has until Thursday to put a new name of the ballot to replace , who died on Sept. 4 and was running for re-election. Bennett said he is soliciting input from municipal chairs in his search for a new GOP candidate.
Once that candidate has been certified following the Nov. 6 election, Bennett said that person will be sworn in shortly thereafter and not wait until the traditional January reorganization meeting to begin to serve on council.
An interim member will be selected by fellow GOP council members at the Sept. 24 meeting to serve until the November election. According to Bennett, "The governing body has received three names from the county committee and has 15 days to act on them."
Bennett said the council had chosen not to publicly discuss filling the open seat at Monday's meeting in deference to Bitman.
At the start of Monday's workshop meeting, Mayor Robert C. Neff, Jr. recognized the council's loss and, pointing across the long wooden table, "the guy who's not there tonight."
Following an emotional remembrance of Bitman, the mayor and council had a moment of silence to honor their colleague. "And with that," said Neff looking up, "Jon would say, 'Well, get to work.'"