The Mahwah Town Council appointed John DaPuzzo, who had been serving as the Council’s President, as the new mayor of Mahwah at its special Wednesday night meeting. DaPuzzo will replace Mayor Richard Martel, who.
DaPuzzo, a friend of Martel’s, said that he is saddened to take on the position under these circumstances, but will do his best to lead Mahwah into the future.
"I have got the biggest shoes to fill. He was a great man, and great mayor, a great friend and a great mentor. I just hope he taught me enough to follow in his large footsteps," DaPuzzo said.
Councilman Roth moved to appoint John DaPuzzo to mayor. Councilman Larson seconded.
Councilman Alderisio abstained, because he believed that out of respect for the Martel family, the decision should wait until after Martel was laid to rest.
All other council members voted in favor of DaPuzzo’s appointment.
No other nominations were made.
Councilman John Roth, who was serving as Vice President of the Council prior to Wednesday night’s meeting, was appointed to President of the Town Council, to fill the position vacated by the new mayor.
Larson nominated John Roth to be the new president of the Council. All Council members voted in favor of this.
Roth then nominated Harry Williams to serve as Council Vice President. All Council members voted in favor of this nomination as well.
The remaining empty seat will be appointed at a future meeting.
John Roth said due to the emotions the township is experiencing, the Council should wait until the March 31 meeting to nominate someone new to the Council, to fill the vacated seat. Roth explained that letters of interest and credentials from Mahwah residents would be accepted by the Township clerk. After going over these materials, each Council member is able to nominate up to one person to fill the empty Council sheet.
“The Council has 30 days to fill the seat,” DaPuzzo said.
All three men were sworn into their respective positions during the meeting, at which point Roth took over the lead of the meeting.
Though congratulations were exchanged, a somber feeling of loss filled the township building.
DaPuzzo began the meeting with a moment of silence dedicated to Mayor Martel’s memory. DaPuzzo’s emotional tribute to Martel was followed by words from every member of the council.
Each shared memories of Martel’s life, and service to the town.
Councilman Roth thanked the Martel family for gifting Martel to the township.
“This man dedicated three-quarters of his life, and his time, to the people of this town,” said Councilwoman DiGiulio.
“He was a true gentleman, and I’m going to miss him,” said Councilman Alderisio.
John Spiech proposed naming the municipal building after Martel, who oversaw it’s construction during his time as Mayor.
“I think that’s a really great idea,” said DaPuzzo.