FLORHAM PARK, NJ- Councilman Charles Germershausen and his hotdog truck were stationed at their usual spot outside the Florham Park Roller Rink on Ridgedale Avenue on one hot June afternoon, and as he served his customers, calling many by name, he explained, “So many people like this, because if they have a problem, they know where I’m at.”
Charlie’s Sabrett Hot Dogs and Italian Ice has become a staple on the main stretch of town since its newsworthy entrance 15 years ago. “I’ve always wanted to do it,” Germershausen said. “But a lot of towns frown upon it. They think it’s low class. When I set up here, some of the powers-to-be didn’t want me to be out here.” He explained that, after the town attorney threatened him with a court summons if he didn’t close down, the Florham Park Eagle dedicated its entire front-page spread to publicizing the situation.
“People came to me the day after the article came out in the paper, and they said ‘screw those politicians,’” Germershausen continued. “I made more money that day than I’ve ever made here.” After the situation was settled, he was encouraged to run for seat on the borough council. After filling the opening for that June primary, he received the most votes out of all the candidates and now serves as council liaison to historic preservation commission and the board of chosen freeholders.
Germershausen, who was born and raised in Florham Park and whose family history in the town dates back to 1925, is now reaching the end of his fifth three-year term on the borough council and is preparing to run for re-election again next year.
“I always liked helping out the residents,” he said of his unpaid position as councilman, explaining that he served in the navy as well as on the Chester police force for 25 years. The councilman, who has owned a construction business in town for over 40 years, also spent 38 years on the Florham Park First Aid Squad, and is now the chairman of the special children’s committee for the Madison Elks and is heavily involved with the American Legion’s Jersey Boy State program. “We just help in whatever way we can,” he said of his involvement with the Elks.
When asked about the most important issues to him as a councilman, Germershausen replied, “The number one thing is to try and keep taxes reasonable. The other thing is the sewer rates.” Germershausen went on to explain that his service to the Borough of Florham Park revolves around knowing the people, and it all came together by selling hotdogs on Ridgedale Avenue.