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Wyckoff Committee Chooses New Mayor, Swears In Christie and Scanlan

Scanlan votes down appointments, deputy mayor decision

Wyckoff residents got their first look at the township's new governing body during a yearly organization meeting Sunday afternoon. 

Major changes in the committee include the appointment of Chris DePhillips as mayor, former mayor Rudy Boonstra as deputy mayor, and the swearing-in of the victors of the November election. The agenda also included a controversial decision to effectively unseat Dorothy Voorman-Fish, a long-serving member of the Wyckoff Board of Health.

In his nominating remarks, 2011 Mayor Kevin Rooney referred to DePhillips as a "dear friend" who "cares deeply about our community." 

"It's unique to find an individual that not only possesses the care and knowledge — the desire — to do this job, but will lead this community through 2012," Rooney said.

DePhillips used to assess the challenges and strengths of the township — praising Town Hall employees and Wyckoff residents for service to the community.

The new mayor also announced that Rooney would serve as finance chair and that the committee would continue to aggressively pursue a strategy that would keep taxes low for Wyckoff residents.

"All facets of township government will continue to investigate regionalized services with other municipalities or the county," DePhillips said. "We will continue to hold the line on our budget and we will take a hard look at whether the township can afford to pay for a town-wide reassessment or reevaluation of our property taxes."

Rooney, after the reorganization, said that he and DePhillips would work together to pursue the goals outlined in the mayor's speech. 

"This year, as it was in the past, [the goal] is to run a very fiscally conservative town," Rooney said. "Our responsibility to the residents is to keep taxes as low as possible — I will strive to do that and I am committed to doing that." 

"I plan on rolling up my sleeves and starting that tomorrow," he added.

He pointed to shared services between the township, Franklin Lakes and Oakland as a way costs have been curbed in the past. 

"Over the past years we've saved in excess of $150,000 through that group alone in shared services," Rooney added, indicating that the committee would look to use similar initiatives to expand the scope of shared services.

New Committeeman Doug Christie said he was excited to tackle the challenges of being the new guy on the dais.

"It's a great group of guys, and this is something I've always aspired to do," Christie said. "I'm looking forward to it, I like the committee assignments." 

Christie said he had known several of the committee members previously, but cited a "personal friendship" with Rooney beyond Town Hall.

He and Boonstra have served with the Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department for more than 20 years, Christie said.

Christie, who served as zoning board chairman in 2011, is the owner of Wyckoff-based Christie Construction.

The committee's unanimous vote to select DePhillips as mayor stood in contrast to the vote on the consent agenda, in which lone Democrat Brian Scanlan was the only committeeman to vote no. 

Scanlan said that his opposition was to the appointment of Boonstra as deputy mayor as well as a number of appointments, including the decision to unseat Voorman-Fish, who has served on the BOH for more than 30 years.

Voorman-Fish, who claimed she was "put out to pasture" as punishment for a letter of support she wrote for Scanlan's reelection campaign last year, did not attend the reorganization meeting Sunday. 

"My concern is for the community," Voorman-Fish said. "The township committee doesn't understand what the Board of Health does that is so necessary for the township."

The committee didn't remove the former Board of Health president from the board entirely, but granted her a one-year, non-voting, non-leadership position. 

DePhillips defended the move to new leadership on the Board of Health, saying it was not a partisan move.

"There have been longstanding concerns with leadership and management on the Board of Health," DePhillips said, adding that the 1-year position was a "compromise solution" agreed upon by all parties and felt it would help the BOH transition toward new leadership. 

DePhillips declined to elaborate on the nature of those concerns. 

Scanlan said he was also disappointed that the committee failed to appoint Brian Hubert to the Wyckoff Zoning Board. 

"He has the intelligence, knowledge, and experience that the zoning board requires, and precisely the right temperament," Scanlan said after the reorganization meeting. "That board in particular has big decisions to make."

Hubert was appointed to a one-year, alternate position on the Design Review Advisory Committee.

DePhillips spoke about Scanlan's no-vote later Sunday and said that the Democrat had been consulted extensively — along with the other committeemen — about the appointments and the deputy mayor position.

"I respect his opinion, but in expressing his displeasure with the deputy mayor appointment he then voted against the entire consent agenda and all the other appointments about which he was consulted." 

DePhillips said that Boonstra, the most senior member of the township committee, specialized in land use and public safety issues.

"I will certainly work closely with Rudy, I look to him for advice and counsel on matters," DePhillips said.

He added that Scanlan had not communicated to him the reasons for his no vote. 

Scanlan however has not minced words about his desire to be Wyckoff's mayor.

"My four township committee colleagues decided not to name me mayor or deputy mayor for 2012," Scanlan wrote on his Facebook page Monday. "They took this decision despite my winning the popular vote by 19% and 35%, respectively, over my two challengers."

Scanlan and Christie beat out Tom Madigan in November 2011 for two vacant seats on the committee — the vote was neither a referendum on the mayor nor deputy mayor position.

In that election Scanlan earned 2,580 votes or 38.7 percent of the vote, Christie earned 2,170 votes or 32.6 percent of the vote and Madigan earned 1,913 votes or 28.7 percent of the vote.

Holding the position of deputy mayor is traditionally seen as a one-year procession toward being the next mayor, and Scanlan — who was a registered Republican until 2008 — indicated he feels Republicans had boxed him out of ever holding the committee's top spot.

The deputy mayor position does not guarantee ascension to mayor the following year. 

The consent agenda also introduced two ordinances — one boosting the maximum number of sergeants and lieutenants allowable in the ranks of the Wyckoff Police Department, and another which regulates snow removal.

New volunteer firefighters and several new township appointments were sworn in by Township Clerk Joyce Santimauro.

slash man January 02, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Fiscally conservative? Watch what's coming!!!
Joseph F. MacDougall January 03, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Dorothy Voorman-Fish had the courage and honesty to tell it like it is, that Brian Scanlan, a Democrat, has been an incredibly strong asset to the governance of Wyckoff. For that honesty and for her years of dedicated service to all of us she has been smacked in the face by an ideology similar to what we see on the national scene. Competence, dedication and honesty be damned, she's shown independence that Wyckoff's Republican leadership cannot abide. Shameful!
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) January 03, 2012 at 04:28 AM
What do you suspect is coming, Slash?
Robin Brickman January 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Brian Scanlan's re-election numbers are a message to the boy's club in town hall that the voters in Wyckoff are tired of watching them use town politics as their mutual admiration club for boosting their egos while ignoring the reality of the times. Brian continues to demonstrate leadership, conviction and personal integrity in the face of petty behavior by the entrenched but increasingly unpopular majority members. I am a registered Republican, and have been my whole long life, but I voted for and support Brian. Scanlan's re-election numbers show that I am not alone in this. The committee should be ashamed of their behavior.
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) January 03, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Just as a point of reference, when current committeemen had been elected in 2009 DePhillips earned 3,474 votes and Rooney earned 3,326 votes; and in 2010, Boonstra earned 3,444 votes. http://wyckoff.patch.com/articles/rooney-dephillips-win-committee-seats http://wyckoff.patch.com/articles/boonstra-wins-re-election-humbly-grateful-for-voters-confidence
BQE January 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM
I could not agree more regarding the Old Boy group at town Hall and their need to recognise that Brian Scanlons re-election numbers indicate that the voters of Wyckoff are paying attention to their poor performance and bulling tactics. Scanlon should be mayor, hes earned it and the town needs new leaders,
Susanna January 04, 2012 at 02:43 PM
What is the point of the question in your unscientific poll? You ought to be asking whether Committeeman DePhillips is capable of acting as the chairman of the Township Committee meetings, because that is the primary legal responsibility of the “Mayor,” in our form of government. As for your silly little “poll," did you miss the election on November 8, Mr. Gerace? Committeeman Scanlan won in a landslide! That is why Brian Scanlan’s four colleagues on the Township Committee are looking awfully small-minded this week. Reading Committeeman DePhillips speech, it's clear that he and Committeeman Rooney have been officially inducted into the Old Boys Club. The only independent thinker on the committee now is Brian Scanlan, who spurned their invitation to join the Club.
Joseph F. MacDougall January 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Mr. Gerace, your "point of reference" isn't complete without acknowledging that Brian Scanlan receivedd 4,508 votes in the 2008 election.
Dr. Von Nostrand January 04, 2012 at 03:23 PM
He's A DEMOCRAT!!!!! Think the Republicans would ever vote to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker if they were in the majority? Fuggettabout it. If you want Scanlan to be Mayor, vote for the Democrats; however, dont be surprised if no Democrats run in the next two years because Scanlan has tried to cut "deals" with the old boys club and realized if he had a running mate in a general election it would drag him down. Its not about Wyckoff, its about Brian.
Alice Cole January 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
It is truly a sorry state of affairs when in a 'nothing' town like Wyckoff the majority of the Township Comm. does not care (or even pretend to) that a good percentage of the voters asked for representation, elected someone and then find their vote does not count in the least. And Dr. VonNostrand, I do not believe Brian Scanlan has cut any deals......he is a reasonable man and many of the issues before the Comm. he most probably had no serious disagreement with .....in other words he is open minded! That would be a trait not shared by his fellow committeemen.
JR January 04, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Dr. Von Nostrand, I have made the same argument to no avail. Apparently, there are different rules for Wyckoff than the rest of the democratic society we live in.
Susanna January 04, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Dr. Von Nostrand, you are sorely mistaken about Mr. Scanlan. If anyone is "cutting deals" it's the Republicans in town. They've been doing it for at least a half century or more. At this point in time, I'm beginning to see that not all Republicans in town are on the side of our current regime. Mr. DePhillips stated on January 1 that "all deicisions made by the TC will not be popular ones". Not appointing Brian Scanlan was one of them, right our of the gate.
Dr. Von Nostrand January 04, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Mr. Scanlan has certainly been an impressive campaigner and is a hard-working member of the town council. I think most of you who want Brian Scanlan to be Mayor/Deputy Mayor owe it to him to run for council the next time on the Democratic ticket. Thats how democracy works. Is it perfect? No. But hey, it's still better than everything else.
JR January 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
But good Dr., Brian Scanlan should simply be handed the mayor or deputy mayor's spot, simply for getting elected. It doesn't matter if he has chosen to play partisan politics, when others do it, they should be "ashamed" because Scanlan "earned" it. They appear to want to ignore fundamentals of democracy when it serves their misguided purpose. You are correct though, if people want Scanlan to be mayor, they should run as Democrats and try to get a majority on the Committee. But they won't, they'll sit on message boards and act self-righteous instead.
Dr. Von Nostrand January 04, 2012 at 07:50 PM
You would think we were Ridgewood, Greenwich, Scarsdale or Saddle River the way this "self-righteousness" has been permeating....
JR January 04, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Ha! Preach on Doctor. Reality seems to be an inconvenient impediment that is simply overlooked by the Scanlan/Open Space crowd.
Gary Rabinowitz January 05, 2012 at 03:40 AM
"Dr. Von Nostrand" and the suspiciously agreeable sockpuppet "JR," great imitation of two different people! Your transparent aliases aside, I ask this one and the same person to spare us the civics lesson. Last I checked, Wyckoff is a small town of 16,000, not a bicameral legislature or parliament governing an 19th century European country. It's a poorly kept secret in town that the local Republican TC members are heirs to the McNamara clique of insiders. All in all, they mostly make decent decisions. Luckily, a good portion of what they have to decide on is inconsequential. No harm, no foul. But..... there's serious issues at stake here -- like CHC. Rather than hope and pray the drinking buddies from Pane Vino do the right thing when it comes to Christian Healthcare Center development, let's observe a reasonable, sensible process for getting the most competent, the most independent, the least conflicted people in positions of authority. Your Tammany Hall like "winner takes all" suggestion is a formula for making the CHC the next Boulder Run debacle. Cheers, GXR
JR January 05, 2012 at 04:20 AM
I like Boulder Run. I think "CHC" is a great idea. I voted against open space. That doesn't make me unreasonable or insensible. It makes me part of the democratic process, a process you and others would like to simply ignore because it doesn't fit your worldview. Democracy has no constituent limit, and best serves communities of all sizes. If democracy is not appropriate for Wyckoff, what system would you suggest? PS-I'm not a doctor.
Gary Rabinowitz January 05, 2012 at 04:43 AM
"Dr. von Nos"-er, "JR," fair enough. Boulder Run -- with its vacant stores, rampant traffic, Woodbridge NJ-look & feel, among other things -- is an eyesore and monstrosity that detracts from the town. You disagree; will those who want more Boulder Run like development in Wyckoff raise their hand along with JR?........CHC is detested by every single person I've spoken to in Wyckoff, but hey, you say it's a great idea, I think it's terrible -- what say the voters about CHC? Scanlan -- based on experience, TC tenure, votes won -- is the logical choice. Your interpretation of the democratic process, conveniently invoking party spoils (calling Tammany Hall! calling Tammany Hall!....) -- well, I clearly disagree with it. In any case, on some obscure level, I do admire your public support of Boulder Run and CHC -- construction that defy the precedent of Wyckoff development which are overwhelmingly perceived as detrimental to Wyckoff. Cheers. GXR
JR January 05, 2012 at 04:54 AM
You should move. Now, what is your basis for claiming that Boulder Run is "overwhelmingly perceived as detrimental to Wyckoff"? Again, your doubletalk aside,, how do you reconcile the Wyckoff voters overwhelming voter support for Republican candidates with your claim that Scanlan should be handed a mayoral position? Explain how that is democratic. I know why you don't answer the question....because you can't.
Susanna January 05, 2012 at 05:43 PM
On November 8, the voters of Wyckoff made Committeeman Scanlan the Peoples’ Mayor. Congratulations, Mayor Scanlan!
Andrea January 05, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Since when does voting someone in to a spot on the town council automatically make that same person the mayor ??
JR January 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Congratulations to the mythical Mayor!
Susanna January 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Nothing is automatic in Wyckoff town politics, unless you are within the good ole boys club. The fact remains that unless you are a Republican in town, if you are elected overwhelmingly by the RESIDENTS of Wyckoff, you will never be in line for Mayor or even Deputy Mayor. The TC (sans Mr. Scanlan) refuses to entertain any new ideas, and scoffs at anyone or any organization who might a different opinion.
Wy@ January 05, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Visualize.....a "terrible twos" tyke at the checkout counter (overpriced Stop&Shop?) throwing a terrific temper tantrum (foot stomping, fist pumping, screeching) after being refused a lolly by Mom.....Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh. .......Democrat doesn't get selected Mayor, supporters bellyache on message boards and throw out tired cliches like old boys club......
JR January 06, 2012 at 02:56 AM
You know what will help reduce the prices at Stop & Shop? A competing supermarket right next door. I really love how all the sentimental, cloying open spacers that wish for the "good old days" of Wyckoff oppose the Shop Rite, despite the fact that there were two supermarkets right next to each other in those "good old days".
John Margroff January 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM
In the Wyckoff's type of town organization, people vote for township committee men, who select their leader, they do not vote for a mayor. If you want to vote for a mayor the town charter has to be change to have a mayor and town council type of organization, in which each position is voted for seperately. In order to make a change it would have to approved by the people.

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