The results didn’t change following Saturday’s recount of the councillor-at-large race, but current City Council President Anthony Zambuto said he’s glad he went through the process.
Zambuto finished just outside of the running during the General Election earlier this month, 35 votes behind Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo in the six-person race for five seats. During the recount, Rotondo finished 33 votes ahead of Zambuto to maintain his fifth-place finish. The top four vote getters – Daniel Rizzo, Steven Morabito, Marc Silvestri and Gerry Visconti – remained the same.
Both Rotondo and Zambuto said there was no animosity between them and praised the recount process for going off smoothly. “This was not an adversarial situation; we went in friends and came out friends,” said Rotondo. “This is democracy in action.”
Zambuto agreed. “It was a very polite and respectful process,” said Zambuto.
During the recount, Zambuto said, all the ballots looked to be clean, and that there was very little ground to dispute ballots that looked as if they may have been mismarked where he could have potentially gained some ground on Rotondo. “Everyone was completely respectful and it’s probably the smoothest recount process I’ve ever seen,” said Zambuto.
The current City Council president said he is proud of his 22 years of service to the city, adding that while there are hundreds of accomplishments he’s been a part of during that time, the two biggest ones are getting a new police station built and changing the zoning ordinance at the council level so that the council can’t approve special permits on the same day as an initial hearing.
Zambuto said he has received tremendous support from residents since the election, with some people coming up to him and hugging him to tell them how sorry they were. He said some people have said they regretted not getting out to vote and voting for him because they believed he would easily win reelection. “It’s God’s will and I’m okay with the result,” said Zambuto. “It wasn’t meant to be.”
Because of the support he has received over the years, Zambuto said, he did believe he owed it to his supporters to go forward with a recount in such a close race.
The recount process showed that there were a number of voters who only voted for one candidate, or several candidates and not the five allowed on the ballot. Zambuto said that Rizzo, Morabito and Silvestri likely benefited the most from the bullet voting. The final recount tally had Rizzo with 3,208 votes, Morabito with 2,683, Silvestri with 2,641, Visconti with 2,352, Rotondo with 2,238 and Zambuto with 2,205.