Former library board trustee speaks out against replacement

Says replacement does not live in Bayonne

The Bayonne Public Library at 697 Avenue C
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The Bayonne Public Library at 697 Avenue C

Gail Godesky, an outspoken Bayonne resident and former mayor’s designee on the Bayonne Public Library & Cultural Center Trustees Board, is not happy with her replacement at the April Bayonne City Council meeting.

“I was honored and privileged to be the mayor’s designee,” Godesky said. “The library does a lot of outreach during the COVID-19 issue. The board and the staff have been doing an excellent job over there, keeping the kids occupied with stories.” 

‘Talking off kilter?’

At the meeting, Assistant City Attorney Donna Russo was appointed by Mayor James Davis to fill Godesky’s vacancy on the board. Russo’s term will last until Dec. 31, 2022.

“I resigned as the mayor’s designee, and I understand that somebody that does not live in Bayonne is now going on the board as the mayor’s designee,” Godesky said. “We have 67,000 residents in the great city of Bayonne. I’m sure there is somebody that could represent the mayor as I did, with pride and commitment to the city of Bayonne, who lives in Bayonne. I may be talking off kilter here, but that’s how I feel, and I just had to say what I feel. And I hope that the council and the mayor will reconsider putting somebody who lives in the great city of Bayonne to be part of the board that does good work for the residents.”

City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski thanked Godesky for being an advocate for the city.

“We know you’re an avid Bayonne cheerleader,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “You always do what’s good.” 

But Ashe-Nadrowski noted that the council has no say in the matter. 

“This is strictly the mayor’s decision,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “On all boards, the mayor appoints and we just confirm. And this one, when it says designee, it’s just saying he’s notifying us … He didn’t appoint a Bayonne person, but again, that is out of the purview of this council. We don’t have any say in that. It’s strictly the mayor’s choice.” 

Law Director Jay Coffey clarified that Russo would be a temporary replacement.

“In this case, the mayor’s designee has got be an employee of the city of Bayonne or someone that had been an employee of the city of Bayonne,” Coffey said. “It is the intent of the mayor to name someone that works for the city of Bayonne and lives in the city of Bayonne to serve on the board.”

Coffey said the appointment was an interim step to ensure the vacancy of the mayor’s designee on the board was filled.

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