LETTER: Ex-Bayonne Mayor Rutkowski should be restored to old location in ‘Hall of Heroes’

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In a letter to the editor, Bayonne resident Peter Franco says that former Mayor Richard Rutkowski’s photo should be restored to it’s old location in the “Hall of Heroes” outside the mayor’s office in City Hall. 

Photo courtesy of Peter Franco.

Dear Editor,

The Hall of Heroes proudly displays photographs of former military personnel along with painted artwork on the walls of city hall.

Outside the mayor’s office displayed a circle of dignitaries including 3 former mayors: James Donovan, Dennis Collins, and Richard Rutkowski along with the father of Mayor Jimmy Davis.

About two weeks ago, I noticed Mayor Richard Rutkowski’s photo was missing. Rotated from the bottom to the right, was the photograph of James Davis, father of Bayonne mayor Jimmy Davis.

Council President Sharon Nadrowski’s father’s photograph had been added to circle of dignitaries, replacing Davis Sr. Mayor Rutkowski’s photo had been moved all the down the end of the hall across from the men’s bathroom.

Rutkowski, a first Lieutenant in the United States Army, served as an infantry company commander at Fort Dix.

The former mayor, was recognized for his distinguished leadership completing a tour in Iran as a Infantry Advisor. After his service to the nation, Rutkowski returned home and was elected city councilman-At Large in 1978 and elected Mayor from 1990-1994.

On October 10th, Mayor Rutkowski, a Democrat, made headlines by publicly endorsing marine veteran Bob Hugin for United States Senator.

Mayor Jimmy Davis, the head of the Bayonne Democratic Organization, has not been shy about his support for Hugin’s opponent, even lending his headquarters on Broadway to the re-election effort of Senator Bob Menendez.

While the replacing of Mayor Rutkowski’s photo in the circle of dignitaries had taken place after his endorsement, I do not want to accuse Mayor Davis of such petty retaliation.

I hope that politics in this city has not dipped this low to disrespect a local hero’s service over a political difference of opinion. Whatever the reason, it was replaced, I believe Mayor Rutkowski’s photo should be returned to its rightful position alongside Mayors Donovan and Collins.

Peter Franco
Bayonne resident