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Hameeduddin, Gussen Re-elected in Teaneck Reorganization

Two new council members were sworn in Sunday at Teaneck's reorganization meeting.

The Teaneck Township Council voted 6-0 to keep Mohammed Hameeduddin as mayor and Adam Gussen as deputy mayor during the reorganization meeting Sunday.

"We are a team, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you to make Teaneck a better place," Hameeduddin said, as he began his second term.

Gussen spoke about some of the projects the council has worked on to improve the town over the past few years, including the addition of revenue from a cell phone tower, the creation of a handicap-accessible playground in Votee Park and changes to human resource management for town employees.

"The team that I'm embarking on serving with now is one that I think will put us in a position to do even more, even better over the next two years," Gussen said.

also took their oaths of office at the meeting, which took place in front of the Municipal Complex.

Schwartz said he hopes to in order to reduce the pressure on residents for tax dollars. Pruitt said he also hopes to create new sources of revenue, improve conditions for municipal workers and improve communication among residents.

"This is our town, and it's a great town. If we put our heads together, we can make it a truly extraordinary town," Pruitt said.

Township Attorney Stanley Turitz and Township Prosecutor Deborah Veach were also reappointed to their positions.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) congratulated the returning and newly elected officials, noting the diverse ethnic mix of Teaneck's governing body. 

"The last time I was here, I was swearing in someone of Jewish descent," Menendez said. "Today, we swear someone who is of Muslim descent. It teaches us in America that we can all come together and achieve for a beloved community the common good."

Hameeduddin gained widespread media attention when he became Bergen County's first Muslim mayor in 2010. 

There was also celebration for Councilwoman Lizette Parker, who recently gave birth to a baby girl. 

"Council member Parker couldn't be here tonight because she's starting the most important job of her life," Hameeduddin said. "We are all very happy for her."

Residents attending the event said they were happy with the new officials. Teaneck Board of Education Trustee Howard Rose said he had confidence in the new council.

"With two new members, Mark Schwartz brings in new, young blood and Henry Pruitt brings in wise, tried and tested blood, so it's terrific," Rose said.



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Jacob July 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I hope Pruitt doesn't take his marching orders from any former Councilmembers.
Keith Kaplan July 02, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I wish the council much luck and success in working together for the good of all the residents.
Art Vatsky July 02, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I wish Teaneck the best of luck with the new Council. I hope progress will be made soon on the return of the 5 day work week at Town Hall. Getting long overdue bus shelters for our Cedar Lane bus commuters should move forward quickly. Teaneck has several new trucks but no truck garage in which to repair them.
Teaneck Resident July 02, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Township politicians can start by putting back the 5 day work week for the Teaneck Township employees. It's unacceptable for taxpayers to have municipal services unavailable on Fridays. Adjust tax assessments not just to those who asked for it. Your contracted property assessors simply inflated property values to justify your bloated budget. Do away with private garbage collection, cut the full time police and fire departments. Put "service" back in public service. Township is one bloated government organization.
John Santaella July 02, 2012 at 03:46 AM
The Council should demand the Town Manager do his job or replace him. A four day work week plus a car?
Diane Schwarz July 02, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Congrats especially to the new Mom! She has an important role, being THE woman on the council! Let's hope the baby will be cooperative in her council work!
zizi July 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Do not sign any contracts that amount to any kind of increased expenses during the negotiations with unions. Do not start a new project (business improvement for example) unless it is funded by someone else other than the taxpayers. Let the business people invest in improving their businesses. It should not be tax payers funding the business zones. Outsource as many functions within the township as possible. Consolidate the board of education, fire and police departments, school system, human resource management etc with neighboring towns to save money. The priority should be to cut down on expenses and lower the property tax. It is about time that township realize that they cannot just tax and spend.
JamesTS July 02, 2012 at 06:58 PM
This seems like a good group.. I am happy to start a new with out the hate, fights and negative press attention. I wish all new members well. One thank you to The Patch for correctly reportingthe vote for mayor. It was NOT unanimous as I read in the newspaper. 6-0 is correct. Thank you. Good luck to all.
Bob & Joyce July 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
We look forward to an orderly council, infused with new wisdom and team leadership, that will work together for the common good. Congratulations to new members, and to the new Mom!
Barbara Ley Toffler July 02, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Congratulations to the new council. Now is the time for all teaneck residents to stop sniping at Council and BOE members and each other, and work aggressively to better Teaneck. Perhaps the new Council can do what we were not able to with the old one: get bus shelters (I just was reviewing new minutes from 2010 -- bus shelters was a council-listed item!), a municipal building open 5-days a week (there no longer are union issues creating problems), lawyer-reviewed professional service contracts, a financially-modest renovation to the Old Police Headquarters that gets the basement departments out of basement and into customer -friendly space, a carefully monitored budget--- starting now, that looks at how we use our money and how we want to use our money, try to find ways to cooperate with other municipalities -- the merge of police forces with Bogota was vetoed by the consutant, the collaborative fire dispatch has never come to fruition. We need to stop the flood of departures from Cedar Lane, find a way to encourage new businesses. we need to explore development of Alfred Ave. and American legion Drive (need to work with landlords). We need to avail ourselves of the extraordinary expertise this town has to offer.. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS FOR THE PEOPLE OF TEANECK TO MANAGE THEIR "DIFFERENCES", AND START WORKING TOWARD ALL WE ALL WANT TO ACHIEVE. How about blog writers starting a new habit of talking about goals for Teaneck and how to achieve?
Jacob July 02, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Perhaps, Mrs. Toffler. But we all know that you already had the opportunity to manage your differences with the rest of Teaneck. It's a shame that you couldn't manage them or even set them aside.
Art Vatsky July 02, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I think Barb Toffler listed a very reasonable agenda. Relatively speaking, the Teaneck business community is barely hanging on in most places. We have a great assortment of quality, ethnic restaurants along Cedar Lane but there are many other properties that become vacant and stay vacant. That is why I hope the replaced Streetscape sidewalk, the replaced dead trees (when?), and the bus shelters (when?) will give Cedar Lane a boost. These are all items already paid for, on warranty, or free. We should not wait.
zizi July 03, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Here are some suggestions: Bus shelters: find some company to run these bus shelters on build/own/operate basis... thus eliminating the need to spend any money on this project... let them generate revenues from advertising... Municipal building: find some company (yes banks are companies too) who will fix up the building and in return use it for several years thus saving tax money..... Teaneck can enjoy some revenue too this way through local taxes..... 4 day work week: fire any one who refuse to work normal hours (plus some extended hours on some days by using shifts)...... we the tax payers do this... why can't our employees do the same...... We need to stop medling in private business.... let the property owners decide what is best for them...... what kind of stores should open up and where.... why do people think the town should help out busineses.... let them worry about what is good for them and pay for it..... tax payers paid for cedar lane business zone and what a waste it was.... cedar lane is now even less attractive for shoppers because it is more congested... narrow side walks.... less parking spaces..... above all tax payers were made to pay for this adventure.... Lesson learned... stay out of trying to perk up business areas..... or do it using private money..... Give teaneck residents what is their single most important need ... property tax reduction......
Art Vatsky July 03, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Zizi: I agree with a lot of your comments above. Sad to say, our Township has botched commercial development funds for nearly 2 decades. That is not just my opinion. It is the opinion of the planning consultant we hired back in 2005. Of course, since most of those decisions were made by long term members of the current council, don't expect them to acknowledge that. They "blew" about $10 million tax dollars and accomplished little between 1995 and now. Ever see the "Matrix" movies where people are viewed as computer programs? When I see some of our Council members, I see a pile of commitments and compromises, promises made, enemies lists, ambition. We don't know the inner workings between Council, Manager, and Staff. Maybe there are culture wars going on, personnel conflicts, discrimination (Note: Municipal internal discrimination cost Teaneck Tax Payers about $10 million in the past 7 years.) That is treated like a military secret. In some situations it should be, but in others, it looks like a cover-up. We pay the money, the projects get botched, we can't really know why, then we pay again to repair the project. No one knows how much the new Police Building costs due to the 15 years of repairs. I shoot for fair taxes for a high value, high productivity, 5 day a week municipal staff. As far as development, I think a lot of good ideas have been discarded. We are in the 21st century now. Teaneck should fully adjust to that fact.
JeffO July 04, 2012 at 02:50 AM
As you know, Art, only two sitting council members served during the period you insist on re-litigating. While CURRENT events have pretty much overtaken my past support for those members, I don't really feel I can talk about the days you pass judgement on, since my right of free speech has been effectively abridged by the willingness of an amoral, neo-McCarthyistic "hero" of yours to to untruthfully smear me. (Ironically, it's the same incredible hypocrite who has sued Teaneck on free speech grounds.) Suffice it to say, the picture you paint is one-sided -- especially since those who could respond are legally enjoined, on many issues, from doing so. There's a lot of current hot stuff on our plate right now. Could we put away the gunnysack and hold our current council accountable for the things for which they're currently accountable?
zizi July 04, 2012 at 03:59 AM
The police building should have been teared down and rebuilt right next to Teaneck Road with rent-able space on the ground floor and the rest of the people packed upstairs or in the basement. Teaneck could have also given the land to a developer and asked the builder to provide a usable portion of a building in return for the land (tearing down the old building included) but that would be smart thinking.... That would have saved Teaneck tax payers a ton of money.
zizi July 04, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Who hired that planning consultant? ah.... we needed a planning consultant to tell us that Teaneck wasted tax payers money...... I would like to say that having that consultant was also a waste...... I guess the ones who wasted the money hired the planning consultant to tell them "you XXXX"
Art Vatsky July 04, 2012 at 07:50 AM
JeffO: How condescendingly of you to write! Look in our Teaneck wallets, my friend. There is about $20 million missing! Payments for these will extend out to 2020 as I recall, money that could have stayed in our wallets or been used by the township elsewhere (maybe to build a garage to repair our trucks). Yes, every politician wishes their constituents had short attention spans but no one is "legally enjoined" from telling us how much the new Police Station cost or giving us TEDC expenses since 1995 or so. I hope those Council members have learned from their prior decisions and apply those lessons to the "current hot stuff". Also, Happy Fourth of July to you and all Teaneck. See you at the parade.


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