Francine, “Call me Fran,” Ritter was born and raised in the Bronx, and attended the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music and Art for fine arts. She started college at SUNY StonyBrook but transferred and graduated from the NYU Stern School of Business. Ritter then got her Law degree from Suffolk University Law School in Boston. She went to work for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission out of Law school then went into private practice.
Ritter lived in Manhattan after college and moved to Wayne five years ago. She has two teen-aged children and chose Wayne because of the schools. “I wanted a better quality of life and Wayne had a very good vibe to it. I realized very quickly on that I was part of a really great community here,” said Ritter.
For over 20 years, she has been an attorney specializing in securities, financial services and Banking law and has worked in in the financial services industry for her entire thirty year career. “It’s something that I always enjoyed, and it has always interested me,” said the would-be Ward Five Council Member. “While I work in private practice now, one of my most rewarding experiences was when I was an anti-fraud enforcement lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Dealing with transparency; dealing with level playing fields. It was about making sure you do right for people and right by people. These were my motivations then, and they are my main motivators today.”
How did she get involved in politics?
Ritter lives in the Brittany Chase Condominium development, where she purchased a home in August of 2017. “I thought it was very special with a lot of open space. It was perfect for somebody who came from an urban environment,” said Ritter.
“I never set out to be a political figure, but that changed suddenly in May 2018 when everyone here received notification that Brittany Chase was being assessed $3Million.” It was a bill that all owners had to pay a portion of depending on the size of their homes. “It came as a shock to all of us,” she said. See Story
Ritter attended more association meetings and soon realized that there were major problems with the existing Board of Trustees including a severe lack of transparency and open dialogue with residents. She helped rally the owners into an organized force called Wake-Up Brittany Chase to ensure fair elections which ultimately forced the existing board members out of office. Ritter was then elected the new President in a landslide with 86% of the vote. Digging deep into Brittany’s Chase’s operations, Ritter and the new board uncovered an alleged $2Million fraud perpetrated by the previous board. See Story
It was the notoriety of her actions, and her vocal leadership that got Ritter nominated by the Wayne Democratic Club to be the Candidate for the Ward Five Town Council seat. “The issues we were facing under the old board at Brittany Chase are very similar to the issues we’re facing in the Township, in the sense of transparency and open Dialogue,” said Ritter. “What I have been doing to improve Brittany Chase is what I can do to improve the town as a whole and I have every confidence that I can do this.”
What is the job of a Town Councilperson?
While it is the job of a town councilperson to serve as lawmaker for the Township, it is also the Town Councilperson’s job to serve the Town tirelessly as public servant and as advocate to listen to residents and to help meet their needs. A Town Councilperson’s job is to serve Wayne proactively instead of reactively on issues that potentially destabilize property values for Wayne such as flooding and pedestrian safety.
Why should people vote for you?
“I’m a great advocate for fairness and helping people. I’m very family-oriented and Wayne is a family-oriented town. I’ve worked in the financial services industry for thirty-years, so I have an understanding and experience with complex budgets and I also have a business degree in accounting and economics.
And, I have a great attitude and attitude is everything. I’m a great listener and I’m energetic and I think that that energy has positively affected everyone around me. I plan to bring that energy to the Council and work with everyone and partner with everyone. I love challenge and what you have to be ready for as a Town Council Member is to be challenged every which way. I faced challenge at Brittany Chase, and I welcome it and expect it. I’m uniquely qualified given my business and legal experience to put differences aside to accomplish common goals.”
What is the biggest issue facing Wayne?
Working together as a town. “Town-wide the residents and the Council need to work together. The council is getting their work done, but they are doing a lot of talking and not really listening to the voices of the residents. We need to all work together to bring more businesses to the town, to make Wayne more of a destination and not a ‘pass-through,’ and we need to take the talented business leaders and practical-minded people of this town and bring them together.”
“We all pay taxes here so we should all be a part of the process to grow this town and to see it into at least the next twenty years.” We need to be able to connect with our county and our state and we cannot use party as a means to divide us anymore. We need to look at ourselves as thought leaders and problem solvers to get the work done together.
What are some other issues facing Wayne?
Efficiency. “What are our vendor relations now? What are we doing to be truly efficient? How can we increase shared services with our neighboring municipalities and our County to try to save money and at the same time to keep the character of Wayne? We really need to roll up our sleeves and see where we can save money and be more efficient.
Retaining our youth. “We want to grow this community, and we want to see our young people staying here with their families instead of moving away after they graduate. We can give them a different type of a housing situation with a town center. An urban style mixed-use plan, bringing in more business, providing an opportunity for apartment-style living, more entertainment. This raises property values and the Township gains a vibrancy.”
“I really see this as a great town with great people here. This party stuff doesn’t help. It’s a wall. We need to be party-agnostic to solve the problems of this Township.”
“We all live here together. We all experience high taxes together. We all care about getting tax relief. We all care about having a great investment in our town. So, why do we have to bring up party? Why can’t we all work together? I’m really looking forward to working with everybody. I want to see us go forward together to make Wayne more cohesive and build on the strength of what we already have. ”