Before an audience of more than 250 people in the City Council Chambers on Sunday, July 1, Mayor Jimmy Davis and Bayonne’s five City Council Members took their oaths of office for new terms in municipal government. The event featured remarks by Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Hudson County Freeholder Kenneth Kopacz, and former City Council President Joseph Makowski. There were also prayers and reflections by Coptic Orthodox Vice Pope and Bishop David, Pastor Dorothy Patterson of the Wallace Temple AME Zion Church, and Father John Fencik of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church. The City’s Chief Financial Officer and former Mayor Terrence Malloy served as master of ceremonies.
Originally scheduled to be held outdoors, the inaugural ceremony was moved to the Council chambers, due to the severe heat.
Senator Menendez administered the oath of office to Mayor Davis. In his inaugural remarks, Mayor Davis cited his team’s “collective commitment to make Bayonne the best it can be.” Mayor Davis said his task was reinforcing “Bayonne’s standing as the jewel” of Hudson County. He stressed various changes and improvements in the community, notably the “real estate boom,” the coming ferry service, and the reconstruction of both the Bayonne Bridge and the Turnpike’s 14A toll plaza. “No doubt,” he said, “we are moving forward.” During his second term, Mayor Davis pledged to “capitalize on the unique opportunities available to us.”
Mr. Malloy described First Ward Council Member Thomas Cotter as someone who “works tirelessly” on the park issue and on bringing art and music to Broadway. City Clerk Robert F. Sloan administered the oath of office to Council Member Cotter. In his remarks, Mr. Cotter thanked the people of Bayonne, his wife, and family. He said that “just one voice” at a meeting can become “the voice of many.” Council Member Cotter said that the 2016 election was “a win for you,” the people of Bayonne.”
In introducing Second Ward Council Member Salvatore Gullace, Mr. Malloy recalled Mr. Gullace’s successful efforts at bringing a ferris wheel free of charge to a recent Bayonne Hometown Fair. Furthermore, the wheel operator made a donation to the Hometown Fair. County Executive DeGise administered the oath of office to Council Member Gullace. In his remarks, Mr. Gullace cited the Council’s willingness “to work hard to solve a lot of issues.” He offered a commitment “to work as hard as I did the last four years.”
Mr. Malloy recalled Third Ward Council Member Gary LaPelusa’s efforts during an earlier term in office to keep Bayonne Medical Center open, “because he knew we needed the hospital.” City Clerk Sloan administered the oath to Council Member LaPelusa. In his remarks, Mr. LaPelusa cited Bayonne’s new development and tax ratables, and the reconstruction of municipal parks as important accomplishments. He thanked his family, the campaign volunteers, and City Council Secretary Beth Polera. Council Member LaPelusa called his elected position “the toughest job I’ll ever love.”
In introducing Council Member At-Large Juan Perez, Bayonne Law Director Jay Coffey said of him, “You can’t meet a nicer gentleman.” Director Coffey said that Mr. Perez “always has many questions.” County Executive DeGise administered the oath to Council Member Perez. In his address, Mr. Perez said, “I look forward to continuing collaboration with organizations that provide services to Bayonne residents.” He said that he would “pursue programs” to provide “a better quality of life for Bayonne residents.” Council Member Perez called upon residents to “get involved.”
Director Coffey described Council Member At-Large Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski as someone who “learned very well and very quickly” how to be City Council President. City Clerk Sloan administered the oath to Council Member Ash-Nadrowski. In her comments, Council Member Ashe-Nadrowski observed that the Council Members “worked together as a team” during the last four years. She said that she was “very happy with the process.” As a result of the elected officials’ efforts, she said, we have
“a much greater city.”
During the City Council reorganization at the ceremony, the Council Members re-elected Ashe-Nadrowski Council President unanimously.
Governor Murphy thanked Mayor Davis for their “shared values.” The state’s chief executive cited Bayonne’s “vibrant diversity” and “business community optimism.” Calling Bayonne “a gateway to our state,” Governor Murphy pledged that “Bayonne will not be a forgotten city.”
Senator Menendez said that Bayonne “exemplified what America is all about.” Menendez recalled the funding he has obtained for Bayonne during his years in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. He cited funding for reinforcing the bulkhead around the former Military Ocean Terminal, parts of which were sinking into the harbor. Menendez also mentioned grants for the Bayonne Police Department and Fire Department that he obtained from the federal government.
County Executive DeGise called Mayor Davis “a great leader.” Addressing City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, County Executive DeGise, a former Jersey City Council President, called being Council President “the best job I ever had.” DeGise said that Mayor Davis “will have your back.” He called for continuing cooperation between the County of Hudson and the City of Bayonne.
In his remarks, Freeholder Kopacz recognized the many current and former officials who were in the audience at the event.
Former City Council President Makowski expressed his approval of new construction in Bayonne. He also praised the recent additions of art and flower pots on Broadway, and cited Bayonne’s “great recreational and cultural events.” Rejecting outsiders’ criticism of Bayonne’s homes, Makowski said that he was proud to live in what they have called “a Bayonne box.”
At the ceremony, Mike Wilson of Post 19 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Ana Petrillo sang the National Anthem. Rosemary Madera led the singing of God Bless America. Dave “Doc” Watson performed an instrumental version of America the Beautiful. The Friendship Baptist Church Choir sang Every Praise.
Before the ceremony at City Hall, there was an inaugural Mass at St. Henry’s Church. Clergy members from various denominations took part in the church service. The Bayonne Police and Fire Pipes and Drums led the congregation from the church to City Hall.
Mayor Davis said, “We are very honored that Bishop David, the Coptic Orthodox Vice Pope, came all the way from Buffalo to be with us at both the inaugural Mass and at the ceremony at City Hall. His presence was a sign of the important role that the Coptic Christian community plays in our community.”
In the evening, a celebration featuring music, food, beverages, and fireworks took place at DiDomenico-16th Street Park.