Jul 29, 2014
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Aronsohn Named Mayor, Pucciarelli Deputy Mayor at Reorg Meeting

Village also gave its heartfelt farewells to departing council members Keith Killion and Steve Wellinghorst.

to a packed Sunday, administering the oath of office to the "like-minded trio" of Paul Aronsohn, and Albert Pucciarelli.

The leading vote-getter in the , Aronsohn was unanimously selected by his council colleagues to serve as mayor for the next two years. was named deputy mayor. Along with , they'll serve four-year terms.

With County Clerk John Hogan, County Executive Kathe Donovan, and Menendez listening in, the new majority wasted no time hyping the changes they plan to bring to Ridgewood.

"We're turning a page and we're starting a new chapter in the life of Ridgewood," said Aronsohn, who was first elected to the council in 2008. "More than anything, this election, this reorganization, this moment, is an opportunity to now step forward, to think anew, to try new things, to try new approaches, to bring new voices, new action, new energy, [and] new ideas to the table." 

said the council will be revisiting the budgeting process, analyzing the tax structure with a look at greater effiency of services, "revitalizing" the business district, all while attending to "quality of life" issues like flooding and pedestrian safety.

"I promise that the energy, determination and enthusiasm of my campaign that brought me to this occasion will not lapse into complacency or contempt for the status quo," Pucciarelli said, adding he would work with the council members with a sense of "common purpose."

While there may have been much talk of the times to come, the ceremony also proved a tribute to those who are departing.

A teary-eyed Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh said her goodbyes to departing mayor Keith Killion and councilman Steve Wellinghorst.

Walsh had fond memories of her time spent with the former police captain and the attorney. Wellinghorst – above being dedicated to Ridgewood's citizens – has been a peacemaker and even a positive influence on her own children, she said.

Killion, known for keeping meetings light with one-liners, was a fair and tireless worker for the residents, she said.

Though the official run may be over for Killion and Wellinghorst, they each said they won't be venturing too far.

"I look forward to continuing to serve our community," remarked Killion, who finished just 16 votes behind Hauck for the third of three seats. "Thank you for electing me to the Village Council and allowing me to serve as mayor. May you and your families continue to enjoy all of the opportunities of our community."

Hauck hopes those community opportunities can transcend into greater involvement in local politics from village citizenry.

"I want to see Ridgewood be cohesive, energized and prepared as we move into the future," she said.

The new council will hold its first meeting on July 11.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at  James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on  Facebook and  Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up  for our daily newsletter.

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