FORT LEE, N.J. -- All was harmonious at the reorganization meeting of the Fort Lee Mayor and Council Thursday evening, with Mayor Mark Sokolich attributing 2015’s progress to “total unity.”
And truly, there wasn’t a scowl or a dissenting word as Sokolich and incumbent councilmen Harvey Sohmer and Joseph Cervieri Jr. were sworn to new terms.
Sokolich was sworn in by Jersey City Mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Steven Fulop, who Sokolich described as “a dear friend.”
“He’s a phenomenal mayor, and I’m looking to give him support further down the line,” Sokolich said, amidst bear hugs and kisses all around between both mayors and Sokolich’s wife Denise.
“It’s an incredible privilege serving my home town. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this 8 years,” he said, joking, “I hope there’s a raise involved. The pay here is terrible.”
Fort Lee Municipal Judge John DeSheplo swore in Councilman Joseph Cervieri Jr., who is also the Democratic municipal chairman, while state Senator Loretta Weinberg swore in Councilman Harvey Sohmer, who she described as a “dear friend of many years.”
Weinberg also thanked Sokolich “for giving me the most exciting two years of my political career,” laughing “I have loved every minute of it.”
County Clerk John Hogan, there to present certificates of election, called Sokolich “The premier mayor in New Jersey.
“Any state you go to, they probably know who he is,” Hogan said.
Sokolich, citing a litany of accomplishments that focused largely on real estate developments but also included community gardens, plans for new parkland.
He is also hoping for a city-owned and run community playhouse and theatre, said the most important change in Fort Lee in his eight years in office has been a change in attitude.
“There’s a sense of pride and community now,” he said. “Once you start to love your town, with enthusiasm becomes a great community.”
In addition to Steve Fulop, guests included former freeholder and mayor JImmy Carroll of Demarest, political scion Gerry Calabrese of Cliffside Park, former Leonia Mayor Paul Kaufman, former Englewood councilman Doug Bierne, and municipal prosecutor Kevin Corriston.