CALDWELL, NJ — New Year’s Day ushered in a new era for the Caldwell Borough Council as Frances DePalma-Iozzi and Jeffrey Gates were sworn into office.

The Caldwell Community Center was filled with residents, families and friends as Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey administered the Oath of Office to the newly elected council members. Also in attendance were Essex County Freeholder Len Luciano, Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin and former New Jersey governor, Senator Richard Codey.

“I am honored to have been elected to this council, whose present members have shown diligence and care for the borough of Caldwell...and I will do my best to represent our citizens,” said DePalma-Iozzi. “I am also honored that Jeff and I have both Mila Jasey and John McKeon, our newly re-elected assembly members, to swear us in. Thank you to everyone who worked for us, supported us, and voted for us. I hope to do you proud.”

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Gates noted that as the third generation of his family to serve in municipal government, he is “proud to keep the legacy going.”

“I am equally humbled and excited to have been elected by the people of Caldwell; and having now taken the Oath of Office, I am ready to do the work needed to get our infrastructure in order and help maintain the charm we all love about the town,” said Gates. “We have some big decisions ahead, and I promise to listen to all perspectives and ideas to ensure our decisions as a council are made based on all the facts and with the best interest of Caldwell in mind.”

At the nomination of outgoing Council President Francis Rodgers, Christine Schmidt, who has served for one year since her election in November 2018, was unanimously appointed as the new council president.

“Thank you so much for elevating me to the position of council president,” said Schmidt. “The honor is even greater coming after Councilman Rodgers, for whom I have the greatest respect. He has brought of level of experience, insight and ethics to the position. I’ll do my best to serve following his example.

As she welcomed the new council members to the dais, Schmidt also cited Greek philosopher Heraclitus’ belief that “the only constant in life is change.”

“As much as our staff provides consistency, the work of municipal government is all about change as we work to improve our community,” she said. “There are always conflicting views—especially when making change. Is change good or is it bad? Shall Caldwell change, or stay the same? Change is sometimes such a slow process that we do not see it. Caldwell is not the same as it was 100 years ago, nor will it be the same in 100 years.”

After swearing in two “highly capable people,” Schmidt noted that “their lives will change as they assume the commitment with which voters of Caldwell have entrusted them” and that they will be “asked to make important decisions that are before us to make real change, revitalize our downtown and improve our quality of life.”

“Our work will change as they bring their own unique voices and perspectives to the borough council,” she said.

Also sworn in during the meeting was Andrew Pollara to the position of chief for the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department.