LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -  Councilwoman Maria Martini Cordonnier has stepped down after serving almost four years on the Township Council and is retiring. Her four-year term council seat expires this January.

"My husband and I thought the time was right," she said, adding that they will be relocating to Delaware.

Originally from Queens, N.Y., Cordonnier came to the Little Falls in 2000. She was employed in the garment industry for 40 years, working in Manhattan and traveling overseas. She came on the election ballot and won in 2016 when she ran with Mayor James Belford Damiano in his first mayoral run and Council President Anthony Sgobba, who ran for his first council seat after previously serving as a board member for Passaic Valley Regional High School.

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One of the accomplishments she said she is most proud was securing grants from the county and state to maintain open space in the Township.

"I was chair of the Little Falls Open Space Committee, and we secured grants for our parks so that they remained as open space," she said. 

Cordonnier also chaired the Senior Advisory Committee and was council liaison to the Little Falls Business Association (LittleFallsBiz). Last year, she was honored for Women's History Month's Visionary Woman - Champions of Peace & Nonviolence. She was recognized by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and Congressman Bill Pascrell for the honor, which spotlights women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice, including pioneering the use of nonviolence to change society.

Damiano commented on Cordonnier's departure and said she was leaving behind an indelible mark in the community.

"In just a short three and a half years, Maria accomplished so much here in town, from assembling new activities, and lunch and learns for our seniors, to bringing the first ever Art Walk to Little Falls," he said. "She is leaving big shoes to fill here in town, and Little Falls will forever be a better place to live due to her dedicated work on the Council."

Sgobba noted that Cordonnier was a fierce advocate on behalf of all the residents in Little Falls, especially the senior citizens.

"Maria had an unparalleled political stamina, always attending every council meeting, every committee meeting," he said. "She was definitely a hard fighter when it came to issues that she believed and that the Democrats should stand up for. She was really a key element of the Democrats taking control of the Council."

Cordonnier said she is excited to see many projects come to fruition as she exits the council, such as the installation of the Sports and Recreation Complex's turf field, including the new pickleball courts and tennis courts. She said upon completion, they will help expand opportunities for recreation for everyone. She is also excited to see appropriate new development coming to the Township.

Cordonnier said that she will miss the residents and the community overall.

"This is a very special community and I will miss the people of this town," she noted. "It was definitely an honor to serve the community and I appreciated the opportunity the residents gave me."