Thursday, July 2, 2020

Teaneck Township Council Reorganization Meeting

 On Wednesday-1-July the Township of Teaneck held their Reorganization meeting to swear in the three candidates elected in the Municipal Election held on 19-May-2020. This was originally scheduled to be held on the Municipal Green. Due to in-climate weather it was moved into the Council Chambers.  The meeting started with invocation from Father Joseph D’Amico of St. Anastasia Church and Rabbi Joel Pitkowshy from Temple Beth Sholom.
  Then came the swearing in of  Ms. Karen Orgen, Mr. Michael Pagan where elected to their first term on the Teaneck council. Mr. Pagen has become the first person of Hispanic heritage to be elected to Council in Teaneck. The third candidate was Mr. Mark Schwartz who won  re-election this year.  This three will serve a four year as a member of council. The next Municipal  elections for Teaneck is scheduled to take place in 2022.
  After the three members were sworn the vote for Mayor and two Deputy Mayors took place. Councilman James Dunleavy won an unanimous vote to become Teaneck’s 36th Mayor.  Then the  office for  First and Second Deputy Mayors then took place.  Councilman Elie Katz was selected for First Deputy Mayor by a 6-1 vote. Councilman Mark Schwartz became Second Deputy Mayor by a 6-1 Vote. For both Deputy Mayors post Councilwoman Gervonn Romney-Rice nominated herself, but did not receive a second.  After the Mayor and Deputy Mayors were given the oath of office the Good and Welfare session for Public Comment. 
  Approximately 20  resident called , or spoke on zoom, to address the Council. All the speakers expressed their frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, surprise , and other feeling over the fact the only African-American  Councilwoman Gervonn Romney-Rice was not vote to, or even considered, for one of the two Deputy Mayor post.  Some of the comments questioned the timing of not selection Councilwoman Rice during the current  national situation. Some even went as far as to call for one of the Deputy Mayors to step-down, or hold a second vote. This was echoed, in the chamber, by former Councilman Dr. Henry Pruitt who said he will continue to support the Township Council.  Either by agreeing to some measures and raising concerns of policies he may disagree with. Dr. Pruitt added that he did not approve of  Councilwoman Rice not being elected to a higher office. 
  When public comment was closed each Council member took their turns to answer the residents. With her time Councilwoman Rice thanked and acknowledge those who stood outside the chamber building for their support. This drew a loud cheer that was audible in Council Chambers. 
   Next was the vote on adoption of the items on the Consent Agenda.  All items were passed by an unanimous vote. Some of the more noteworthy items was to appoint Mr. John Shahdanian as Township Attorney.  And authorize a new contract for Township Manager to Mr. Dean Kazinci. There was also a presentation from the office of U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer to former Council members  Dr. Henry Pruitt and  Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin.
   Finally Mayor Dunleavy gave his message to the public. He talked  about the two viruses affecting the Country. One is the covid-19, the other was the injustices shown towards all minorities living in the country. He spoke, in his own words, about being a privileged white man on how to show support all resident of Teaneck. Mayor Dunleavy wonder if his past has contributed to the history of any bias and prejudice that still exists. He acknowledge the Student lead protests in June, but now the Township must take the next step to bring the different areas of community into one united Teaneck. 
  The meeting ended with a Benediction was given by Pastor Marilyn Harris of the First Baptist Church. The Next Township Council will be held on Tuesday-14-July. This is open to the Public and is scheduled to start at 8:00p. If allowed it will be held in the Council Chambers located at 818 Teaneck Rd Teaneck, NJ
  The full video of this meeting can be seen at: Council Meeting

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