ROSELAND, NJ — James Spango was sworn into office as mayor of Roseland and Roger Freda and Eileen Fishman were sworn into office as the newest members of the borough council on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by more than 350 guests at the Nicholas, Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church.
Members of Roseland Girl Scout Troop No. 20418, including Spango’s twin daughters, Brooklyn and Madison, led everyone in the pledge of allegiance.
Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin began the inaugural ceremony, noting that the swearing in reflects “a peaceful transition of power and, provided by the constitution, is a commitment to good citizenship.”
“The people of Roseland spoke so eloquently on Nov. 6 when they chose their elected leaders," said Leroy Jones, chairman of the Essex County Democratic Committee. "They could not have chosen three finer people to serve Roseland, and I express my well wishes to all who will take office and pledge to serve.”
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura administered the oath of office to Spango, who serves as the business administrator and a deputy chief at Fontoura’s office.
“No one makes a greater contribution to our mission and no task is too much," Fontoura said as he introduced Spango. "Roseland is in very good hands.”
As a public servant by profession, Spango said he is "humbled to be able to serve the public in [his] own community.”
As he thanked his family for their support and guidance, Spango specifically acknowledged his mother, Patty Spango, who is a former West Orange Councilwoman and the current deputy superintendent of elections in Essex County; his stepfather, Michael Fabiano, a former democratic chairman for West Orange; and his father, James Spango, Sr., for being instrumental in guiding him to seek office and serve his community.
After also thanking his wife, Dawn, stating that she is “someone [he] can truly confide in and get an honest, unvarnished opinion,” the mayor directed his comments to his vision for the borough moving forward.
“I am grateful for the people in this borough who supported me and thank them immensely," he said. "This is now about our borough. This administration must work collectively with our residents regardless of party affiliation.
"Today is not about my taking office, but about the future of our great borough. It’s not about democrat or republican, but about working together with our borough’s best interest at heart. I look forward to working with the dedicated public servants who fulfill vital functions to ensure our borough is safe and functions efficiently, and to do it in a way that is fair to them and the taxpayers.”
Former New Jersey Governor Richard Codey, a resident of Roseland, administered the oath of office to Freda.
“These are three great people and their decency and honesty with lead this town forward,” said Codey.
Administering the oath to Fishman was the Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., who also is a resident of Roseland.
“These newly elected officials will do a great job, but they can’t do it alone," DiVincenzo said. "They will continue to put the people of Roseland first.”
At Freda's nomination, Councilman Christopher Bardi was unanimously voted to serve as council president for 2019. The council then unanimously appointed the law firm of Inglesino, Webster, Wyciskala & Taylor, LLC to serve as borough attorney.
Other local dignitaries in attendance at the cereomony included Assemblymen John McKeon and Thomas Giblin; Essex County Freeholders Len Luciano, Brendan Gill and Patricia Sebold; Phil Alagia, chief of staff for DiVincenzo; Livingston Mayor Al Anthony and Councilman Shawn Klein; Caldwell Mayor John Kelley; Caldwell council members Christine Schmidt and Jonathan Lace; Newark council member Anibal Ramos; Newark public safety director Anthony Ambrose; former Roseland mayor Mike Pacio; Essex County Prosecutor Ted Stevens; and Jill Hirsh, who represented Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.
Al Barlas, County Chairman of the Essex County Republican Committee, was also scheduled to speak, but was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.
Multiple members of law enforcement from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office also attended the event along with many Roseland residents and well-wishers.
As part of the regular reorganization agenda, annual appointments were made, including borough administrator, prosecutor, public defender and clerks. Mayoral appointments were also approved with citizens being appointed to the Roseland Library Board of Trustees and the Roseland Planning Board.
Annual resolutions were passed unanimously, inclusive of the appointments of designations of official newspapers, annual delinquent tax sale, council meeting agenda categories, block grant representatives and temporary budgets for the current fund and water/sewer fund.
The next meeting of the council will be a caucus meeting to be held on Jan. 15.