By Ron Leir
NORTH ARLINGTON –
It happened without discussion or debate. In less than a minute, Peter Norcia was picked – by unanimous consent – from among three nominees to fill the Borough Council seat vacated by Steve Tanelli after his election as Bergen County freeholder last Nov. 6.
Norcia and his wife Pat conveniently happened to be in the audience so he was sworn in immediately by Mayor Peter Massa as the council’s newest member. Also in attendance was Lyndhurst Mayor Robert Giangeruso, who apparently had the foresight to know that the man he called his “good friend” would be slotted for Tanelli’s council seat. “This was a good move you guys made,” Giangeruso assured the council members.
And Municipal Dems Chairman Nick Antonicello, who submitted the three recommendations to the council Jan. 17, thanked the council for reviewing his committee’s nominations and for displaying “democracy in action.”
How the other nominees – Dems county committeewoman Jean Williams and Planning Board Chairman Dave Charowwsky – felt isn’t known. That same night, the council appointed Williams to the Board of Health.
In any event, Norcia will serve out the year remaining in Tanelli’s three-year term and will then decide if he wants to run for a full term.
Norcia, a facility manager for ISS Worldwide Corp. and the former manager of AT&T’s Worldwide Corporate Headquarters until his retirement, served on the Lyndhurst Board of Education nine years before moving a decade ago to North Arlington where he sat on the Board of Health and zoning board.
Democrats now enjoy a 4-2 majority on the Borough Council and the mayor is also a Democrat.
In other business, Freeholder Tanelli reminded the council that the county was preparing to undertake improvements to playing fields in the North Arlington section of Riverside County Park but not before he intends to relay to the county a “concern” by Borough Schools Superintendent Oliver Stringham that the county’s proposed multipurpose turf field for youth football and soccer calls for only a “walking path” around the field’s perimeter instead of a regulation “six-lane track.” Stringham’s concern stems from the fact that North Arlington plays all its track meets away. Tanelli said the county also plans to install two illuminated girls’ softball fields.
Asked by Council President Al Granell if the county has considered the impact of flooding, given the beating that North Arlington High School’s Rip Collins field took from Hurricane Irene, Tanelli said the county “has a plan to take the multipurpose field out of the flood zone by raising the land elevation,” but added that if the county raises the ground too high, the spillover could run off into River Road neighbors’ homes.
In a related youth recreation development, the North Arlington Board of Education has its own plans for upgrading Collins field to an “all-weather athletic field, six-lane track and new field house/concession stand/storage building.” It proposes to finance the $3 million project through a public referendum up for voter consideration on March 12.
Tanelli said he’s looking at the county improvement program “as a fallback plan” if the school board proposal is defeated by the voters.