In Weehawken, returning Mayor Richard Turner and the Township Council were sworn in on Friday, July 1. The township held a variety of events in the lead up to the inauguration, from concerts to other festivities.
Turner enters his ninth term, making him the longest serving mayor in Hudson County. He was first elected in 1990, and currently also serves as the state director for outgoing Rep. Albio Sires, who represents the 8th Congressional District encompassing much of Hudson County.
Joining Turner on the council is First Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri-Ehret, Second Ward Councilwoman Rosemary Lavagnino, Third Ward Councilman Robert Sosa, and Councilman At-Large David Curtis. Turner and the council incumbents ran unopposed in the recent election.
Turner, an At-Large Councilman, was re-elected mayor by the council, par the course for Weehawken’s type of mayor and council government. This time around, Silvestri-Ehret was elected Deputy Mayor taking over from Lavagnino.
Turner was sworn in by Hudson County Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez, who represents West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg. The incumbent Weehawken mayor and the council were joined by their friends and family for the formalities, whose support Turner noted was essential to carry the burden of being an elected official.
Turner and Sosa also light-heartedly bickered over who was the longer serving public official, with Sosa having served on and off on the council since the 1970s. However, he passed a literal baton to Turner, signifying he was conceding Turner was the longest serving public official in Weehawken.
“We look forward to a great four years,” Turner said, first thanking municipal employees for their efforts under his administration. He touted that he has kept the “small town-feel” of Weehawken despite redevelopment of the waterfront, and praised his COVID-19 response.
What’s next for Weehawken?
At the swearing-in, Turner also outlined what’s next for Weehawken in his upcoming term. He echoed much of what had previously told the Hudson Reporter after his unopposed victory in the May 10 non-partisan municipal election, touting a number of projects that will move forward soon.
“We’re going to move forward on fixing Park Avenue,” Turner said. “We’re going to move forward on completing our waterfront park. We have electric charging stations coming – we’re gonna be working on where to put them… We have two hybrid police cars, obviously we’ll save on gas, and we have an electric police car… You wouldn’t have a better administration than these council people: honest, no agendas, they’re only agenda is doing their best for the public.”
Gio Ahmed was also reappointed as Township Manager; Rola Fares was reappointed as Township Clerk; Richard Venino was reappointed as Township Attorney. Officials in attendance of the ceremony included West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco.
After the swearing in, Weehawken and You held a fundraiser in Paramus. Hosted in conjunction with the township, the proceeds raised will go to various entities including to the township’s school district.
Bayonne and Union City mayors sworn in again too
The hour-long ceremony was brief in comparison to the lavish gathering in Bayonne. However, the Weehawken ceremony outshined that of Union City.
In Union City, State Senator and Mayor Brian Stack did not hold a swearing-in ceremony. Like Turner, Stack and his slate of incumbent Board of Commissioners ran unopposed in the 2022 non-partisan municipal election. Stack, who has been in office since 2000, now enters his sixth term as mayor of Union City.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.