Mayor’s Remarks – City of Englewood Reorganization
I wanted to share my remarks from the City of Englewood Reorganization Meeting that was held this past Tuesday evening for those of you who could not attend. The Reorganization Meeting is one of the most important events in the life of any municipality where the continuity of our City government is demonstrated and our democratically elected officials are seated. I was sworn in for another term as your Mayor and Councilwoman Lynne Algrant was sworn in for her second term as Councilmember at Large.
All the best for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Mayor Frank Huttle
Mayor’s Remarks – City of Englewood Reorganization – January 8, 2013
In 2010, I came into office to lead Englewood during a difficult economic time and to turnaround city government. Over the past three years, despite financial pressures and challenges, we have made Englewood a better place to live, work, and raise our families.
We have eliminated tax increases, lowered spending, returned teachers to the classroom in the midst of a school budget debate, restructured the City Manager’s office, appointed a new Fire Chief, and expanded after school opportunities for our children by partnering with non-profit organizations.
We also created the first ever Mayor’s Budget and Finance Commission to streamline municipal budgeting, which provided a roadmap to the Council for reform.
These strides towards a more efficient Englewood were made as a team effort with the Englewood’s Council. Over the past three years, the residents of our City have elected a completely new Council, and with it has come a renewed energy in city government. This change began when Councilwoman Lynne Algrant was elected with me in 2010. Since then, we have been joined by Councilmen Michael Cohen, Marc Forman, Eugene Skurnick and Wayne Hamer.
While we have differing views from time to time, we share a common bond: a strong commitment to public service and a passion for serving the people of Englewood.
I thank each of you for a job well done.
I would also like to take a moment to thank someone who is no longer with us, but who lives on in the history and spirit of Englewood, Councilman Jack Drakeford. Tonight, for the first time in half a century, Jack is not at Englewood’s Reorganization Ceremony. We miss him but take comfort in the fact that he will always be watching down on the City he so loved.
Jack was not the only one we lost in 2012. Shirley Green and Shirley Passow who both contributed greatly to the City also passed on. I would ask that you join me in a moment of silence for all of those whom we lost in 2012.
In addition to the elected leaders of Englewood, our City is further supported by the residents who volunteer their time and expertise to serve on our Boards and Commissions. Many thanks to the service-minded individuals who sit on our Englewood Boards.
Our community runs on this volunteer spirit. I see it every day both in our residents and our dedicated city employees. Many of those individuals are in this room tonight, and I thank you for always rising to the challenge.
I would also like to give special thanks to all those who joined together in the Master Plan process. Hundreds of people attended each of the public meetings and participated in citywide focus groups, making Englewood better.
The need for future planning in the new Master Plan and other initiatives has been reinforced by the four historic storms that have hit Englewood in just three years. These storms have caused substantial electrical outages, flooding, and property damage. While Superstorm Sandy was an extraordinary event, it is clear that there is now a “new normal” when it comes to weather and emergency conditions.
Englewood came together as one community during each of these storms, especially Sandy. Friends and neighbors checked in and looked out for one another while waiting for their own electricity to be restored and their lives to return to normal.
These efforts were led by Englewood’s Office of Emergency Management and its Chief, Lawrence Suffern. I want to thank each member of this team serving our residents during our most difficult periods.
Just as Englewood came together as one during Hurricane Sandy, all aspects of our City government came together to immediately build a road to recovery in its aftermath. City Hall continuously stayed open during and after the storm’s passing, fully staffed and ready to assist residents. The Board of Education and City arranged programming at Schools so that both parents and kids could have some activity after days without electricity. These efforts were extraordinary and I thank you all for them.
I also want to thank the many centers of community we have in Englewood, including Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, the Bergen Performing Arts Center, our many houses of worship, the Englewood Public Library, Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, our downtown stores and restaurants, and the industrial businesses. They provide our community with foundation and our residents with services, cultural opportunities, and jobs that are so critical for our local economy.
I am also thankful to my wife, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, for her support of me and for her support of Englewood in the Legislature. I wish to thank my children, Alexandra and Francesca for the love and support of me.
When I was elected as Mayor a little over three years ago, we were in the midst of a unique period in our history. Government faced new and unprecedented challenges at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels. I was honored and humbled by my election then. I am even more grateful now that Englewood’s residents have given me three more years to continue the work of bringing change to our City.
We are fortunate to have a diverse and engaged community where an individual from all walks of life come together to create a strong, vibrant City.
In the coming years, I promise that I will continue to work for our families and taxpayers to stabilize our municipal finances, unite our community, and move our City forward. Thank you again for your trust.