In Teaneck, Counciman Mark Schwartz and his Moving Teaneck Forward running mates, Michael Pagan and Karen Lew Orgen, have prevailed over the rivals in a control election.
Their victory over the People for Progress slate of Denise Belcher, Ardie Walser, & Gina Gerszberg represents a win by outgoing Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin, who backed them.
Senate Majority Loretta Weinberg (D-37) backed the People for Progress slate.
“If this holds up, the experienced team won tonight,” said the retiring mayor.
Unofficially to date:
A seven-person town council oversees a $77 million budget in this Bergen County town of 41,000 people and 95 sworn police officers, where three seats wrre in play this year, including the one occupied by the retiring Hameeduddin, who served as mayor from 2010-2014 and from 2016 to 2020). “We have managed to deal with every problem that has come our way,” said Hameeduddin, who wants to leave Teaneck (where they’ve passed six local budgets without a tax increase) in what he sees as the capable hands of Deputy Mayor Schwartz, who leads the Moving Teaneck Forward slate. Veteran Councilman Henry J. Pruitt – formerly a Hameeduddin-Schwartz ally – is also retiring. That leaves Schwartz with two new running mates (Mike Pagan – a veteran of the office of the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg – and Planning Board member Karen Lew Orgen).
“A number of things over time could have been better handled had we been more deliberative; this is about quality of life more than it is zero-based budgets,” said Pruitt, who backed the three-person opposition People for Progress slate. The challengers also have an ally in sitting Councilwoman Gervonn Romney Rice, which means a sweep by the challengers’ slate (Denise Belcher, Ardie Walser, and Gina Gerszberg) would flip control to 4-3 and change the direction of Teaneck.
It didn’t happen, as Schwartz, Pagan and Orgen unofficially prevailed.