"I was told that I had to be sworn in officially on New Year's Day," DeGise said. "Without it, we were subject to legal challenges. [Newly elected county clerk] Javier Inclan told me that he and Mayor [David] Delle Donna were getting sworn in New Year's Day in Guttenberg and he would be happy if I joined them. It was very nice for them to allow me to join in."
So on New Year's Day, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Maureen Mantineo, a resident of Guttenberg, was called upon to give the oath of office to DeGise and Inclan.
In turn, Inclan then issued the oath of office upon Delle Donna and new Town Council members Adela Martinez and Efrain Velez.
For DeGise, it was a way of coming full circle. After all, it was in Guttenberg's Green Kitchen last year that he was announced as the Hudson County Democratic Organization's candidate to run against Bernard Hartnett in the June primary for county executive.
"I shook hands on it and agreed to be the candidate in Guttenberg," DeGise said. "It was nice for me to be there."
A year ago, when Jennifer Credidio and Tom Barnes were sworn in as Guttenberg council members, DeGise was the one who swore them in. So he has had some history with the second smallest municipality under his jurisdiction.
However, DeGise was a little caught off guard by the big turnout for the ceremonies.
"I didn't even wear a tie," DeGise laughed. "I always wear a tie. I thought it was going to be less formal."
DeGise said that it hit home when he heard Judge Mantineo read off the dates of his term of office.
"When she said the date, Dec. 31, 2007, it seemed like such a long time," DeGise said. "It sounded like it was so far away. When she read it, I figured it was a long way off, but now, I'm ready for the long ride ahead. The first year was a learning experience. Now, things are falling into place. I have a direction to go in and it's already started. But we have to keep it going. We have the big picture in mind, with new schools, new roads, new parks and recreation areas. Now, I just can't talk. I have to deliver. It's a matter of producing for the public now and I'm ready to try."
The same can be said for Delle Donna, as he begins his second two-year term as mayor.
"There was a lot to learn during my first term as mayor," Delle Donna said. "It takes time. The first term, people give you the benefit of the doubt because there's a learning curve. Now, they look for improvement. I have no excuses if I don't produce now. The learning curve is over and I have to buckle down now and face the problems."
Delle Donna said that it was impressive to have DeGise take his oath in the Guttenberg council chambers.
"I feel very honored that Tom DeGise was here," Delle Donna said. "Actually, I was kind of surprised at first. It shows the kind of relationship that has developed between the county and Guttenberg. Tom has paid much attention to us and to our needs, and that's not easy when you have a small town. For him to want to get sworn in with us shows how much he respects us and Guttenberg. It's a great benefit to Guttenberg to have that kind of relationship. He listens to every request we have."
Delle Donna said that he was also honored to receive the oath from his long time friend and ally Inclan, who became the first Hispanic to hold a countywide office and the first Guttenberg native to hold the office of county clerk.
"It was one of Javier's first official acts as county clerk," Delle Donna said. "It was a nice feeling to have Javier swear me in."
Inclan, the former Guttenberg councilman, gained election as the county clerk in November, succeeding the late Janet Haynes.