After Council’s Feb. 7 meeting, everyone may have thought Councilwoman Victoria Fay was out for good.
They were wrong.
To the surprise of many, Fay resumed her normal spot last on the five member governing body after a temporary court ruling overruled Council’s previous decision to oust her from her seat.
Members of Council and township officials did not comment on Fay’s return during the meeting except to say that the matter was currently in litigation.
Members of the public addressed Council during public comment, urging the other members of Council to offer Fay a public apology for their actions during the Feb. 7 meeting, which included a motion to vacate Fay’s Council seat after it had been discovered she was living in Evesham Township.
According to a statement released by the township after that meeting, Township manager Stephen Adezzio moved forward with an investigation as to where Fay was residing after a township employee brought forth information that she was living outside of Medford. That investigation revealed Fay had been residing in Evesham Township and had been doing so for five to six months before being elected to her seat this November.
“Under New Jersey law, no person can hold local elective office unless the person resides in the municipality to which he or she is elected. Further, the law requires that the position shall be deemed vacant if the person no longer resides in the municipality,” Mayor Chris Myers said in a statement. “Because of Mrs. Fay’s circumstance and the requirements of New Jersey law, the Township was directly at risk that any Township business voted on at that point would be deemed null and void.”
Responding to the allegations, Fay acknowledged that she had been spending time at a family property in Evesham and said she had been dealing with a private matter, butthat she is still a resident of Medford.
Citing that that she was denied her right without due process , she said she had plans to file a lawsuit against the township.
A temporary court ruling on Tuesday sided with Fay.
At last night’s meeting, Fay abstained from voting on official business because, she said, she did not have enough time to review the meeting’s agenda. She also recused herself from an executive session to discuss the litigation she has brought against the township.
In comments at the end of last night’s meeting, Fay said she would continue to serve the residents of Medford.
“They are what motivate me everyday,” she said. “I will continue to fight for every resident (of Medford) whether or not Council likes it, or me, or not.”
Residents questioned whether or not Fay would be reinstated to her seat on the planning board before a controversial topic, the Medford Crossings redevelopment project, is scheduled to be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Officials were not clear as to whether or not she would be. Details about the temporary court ruling at forthcoming.
Members of the public demanded answers about the Medford Crossings redevelopment project last night. Questions and debate about the subject went on for almost three hours. That redevelopment project, at Route 70 and Eayerstown Road, is slated to be addressed and discussed in depth during Wednesday night’s planning board meeting.
Check back for further updates.