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Two Challengers, Mayor Win Teaneck Township Council Seats

Voters deny re-election bids of two council members.

Note: This report has been updated with new numbers provided by the Township Clerk Wednesday morning. The updated numbers now include vote-by-mail ballots. 

Teaneck’s mayor, a town ambulance service volunteer and a school board member won seats on the Township Council Tuesday night.

Mohammed Hameeduddin, Bergen County’s first Muslim mayor, was re-elected by a wide margin, netting 4,501 votes, according to unofficial totals released by the town clerk. Mark Schwartz, a council newcomer and Planning Board member, won his first four-year term with 3,254 votes.

Henry Pruitt, a school board member and former board president, also won his first term on the council with 2,943 votes.

Councilwoman Barbara Toffler lost her bid for a second term with 2,599 votes. Monica Honis, a teacher, was denied a third term on the council with 2,303 votes.

Scientist Alexander Rashin received 1,111 votes in his first council run.

The election largely focused on concerns over development, attracting business, town services, budgeting and community relations.  

Schwartz, a real estate consultant, had described his ideas to increase foot traffic as a way to .

Hameeduddin pointed to the need for a redevelopment authority to manage economic development. The mayor had pointed to his support from five of six council colleagues.

Pruitt cited cost-saving measures implemented during his term on the Board of Education and called for better communication between the council and school board. A and power purchase plan were two of the initiatives taken on under his term with the school board.

He also said the township should look to improve all of its business districts, rather than focusing on Queen Anne Road and Cedar Lane.

The town’s current four-day workweek for Municipal Building staffers became an election issue. Toffler was a , saying it had not saved money and inconvenienced residents.

The councilwoman had vowed to fight for transparency and said she wanted the council to hold workshop meetings to keep residents informed. On budgeting, Toffler argued for line item review of the town budget, rather than building on past versions.

Honis focused on township infrastructure and development. She called for improved working conditions for town hall workers.

Rashin, who frequently attends council meetings, had said the township should explore technology to save money and be more responsive to residents.

Township Clerk Jamie Evelina said the results were unofficial and provisional ballots were not yet included in the totals.

The Township Council selects the mayor and will reorganize July 1. Council members serve for four-year terms. 

 

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First published 10:27 p.m. Tuesday. Updated 2 a.m. Wednesday. 

Jason Flynn May 09, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I hope the negativity and divisiveness can end TONIGHT and we can all work on a better Teaneck for all of our residents. Regardless of religion, school selection, neighborhood, we all benefit from strong public services, strong business districts, freezing or lowering our taxes, strong schools, etc. Congratulations to the winners tonight. To those that are former council members after tonight's results - thanks for your service to our great town and please stay involved and let's all put Teaneck first.
Tom Abbott May 09, 2012 at 03:23 AM
The full unofficial results from the township clerk can be viewed at http://election.tomabbott.net/Council/TeaneckMunicipalElection05-08-2012.pdf
Art Vatsky May 09, 2012 at 03:33 AM
The results are in. The voters of Teaneck have spoken. Mr. Hameeduddin, welcome back. Mr. Schwartz, I'll have to get to know you better. How do you stand on the 4 day work week at town hall? Dr. Pruitt, I hope your experience and wisdom will be valued by the rest of the Council. Ms. Toffler, the Council had an opportunity to use your inteligence and insight but it somehow got off on the wrong foot. The controversy hurt your reelection. Ms. Honis, the lack of good controversy probably hurt you. Mr. Rashin, you know I respect your forthrightness on several issues. We wil continue to cooperate with each other. Teaneckers need to make a lot of noise or our Council will fall back on its former ways. We need this to be a smarter Council.
JAD May 09, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Congrats to those who won and condolences to those who didn't.
Jacob May 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM
While I agree with Mr. Vatsky ("The voters of Teaneck have spoken"), I disagree with some of the balance of his comments. Teaneck voters are smarter than some give them credit for. I have always felt that way and yesterday's results bear that out.
Jason Flynn May 09, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Siddiqui - please see my post last night above. I was actually very pleased that Mr. Pruitt stopped by the Moose Lodge last night to say a few words and shake hands. Can't we stop this nonsense and bitterness. If you disagree with someone, your disagreement is over an issue or idea, not the individual. I think people need to stop the personal attacks and start talking ideas. If our focus was on our children's best interest with regard to safety, schools, parks and our budget, with improving revenue side of things in town, while tightening expenditure AND OUR FOCUS is not on attacking individuals, subsections of the community, we can be a stronger community. The sum is greater than all the parts.
Tom Abbott May 11, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Having received more complete unofficial results the above was replaced. Go to http://election.tomabbott.net for May 8th election results.
Art Vatsky May 11, 2012 at 09:15 AM
Jack: I'd like to think you are right. I hope you are. Frankly though, we are sometimes more influenced by the impression a candidate gives rather than their actual accomplishments/abilities. Remember, we did elect a Council member that was not qualified to run for office in NJ. He was registered to vote in another state I recall. He is now being indicted for an alleged 'no-show' county job. In the 1990s we had a Mayor who was accused of giving town contracts to a relative of his. And how smart is a Council that closes Town Hall 52 Fridays a year and sticks to it despite little benefit to the public? Not only is the building open 20% fewer days, it is open fewer hours too. We voted for that Council too.
Jacob May 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I am looking forward to some new faces on the Council. I am a little worried though about a comment made by Mr. Pruitt in today's Bergen Record. He said, "My intention is to form alliances with those people who are interested in the things I am interested in and work toward convincing the rest of the people if they want to listen to other points of view." What about the Teaneck residents that are not interested in the things he is interested in?

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