Sacco begins 9th term as North Bergen mayor, Vainieri & Rodriguez join commissioners


North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco was sworn in for his ninth term as mayor this afternoon, with Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Anthony Vainieri and former Board of Education Trustee Claudia Rodriguez joining the board of commissioners.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Sacco, also the outgoing state senator of the 32nd Legislative District, has been in municipal office since getting elected commissioner in 1985, making this his 11th consecutive term overall.

One week ago marked the third time Sacco bested Larry Wainstein, this time by a margin of about 72-28 – the largest of their trilogy. In 2015, the incumbent slate won by roughly 67-33 and then by approximately 69-31 in 2019.

“Now I read a number of things that were absolutely bizarre. I am anti-choice: I read it, it must be true except the person who said it was a liar. It said I was anti-same sex marriage,” Sacco recalled.

“Some of my neighbors came over and took photos in my apartment with me because they were same sex marriages I performed. But people lie. Our opposition lied many times over again. But we stayed true to where we were going. Every district, with all its workers and committee people, worked hard.”

As he mentioned in an interview after the election results had come in, Sacco reiterated that he has plans to expand and renovate their schools, along with upgrading the parks at 46th and 67th Streets, during his next four-year term.

Vainieri, who was elected to serve as chair of the Hudson County Board of Commissioners seven times in a row, tying former West New York Mayor Sal Vega for the record, noted how proud he was to hold the seat his dad got elected to over five decades ago.

“52 years ago: 52 years ago, my father was sworn into the office that I was just sworn into. I want to recognize my dad, Commissioner Anthony Vainieri, Sr. We thought about this, everybody thought about it, I think it’s a first in the history of the Township of North Bergen that a son followed his father in the office of commissioner.”

Succeeding Commissioner Frank Gargiulo, who emceed the event, Vainieri will be the Department of Public Works commissioner and noted that he would be at the garage seven days a week and joked about how spotless he expected the streets to be.

Rodriguez, a former staffer in Sacco’s senate office, is the first Latina commissioner in North Bergen history.

She will replace Revenue and Finance Commissioner Julio Marenco, who is running for state Assembly in the 33rd Legislative District with the blessing of the HCDO.

They’ll be joined by two other veterans of the governing body: Parks and Public Property Commissioner Hugo Cabrera and Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual.

They both spoke about what an honor it is to still serve and thanked Sacco for his continued leadership and support.

Other dignitaries in attendance included Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, his chief of staff and potential successor Craig Guy, Sheriff Frank Schillari, Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, Kearny Mayor Al Santos, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

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  1. North Bergen’s 1st line of defense is its law enforcement. They are respectful but consistent in maintaining the public order. The 2nd line of defense is sanitation, who keep our streets clean. Our code enforcement officials make sure that our buildings are as safe as they should be. And if the unthinkable should occur, our firefighters and EMT’s are there to protect us. But, all of this can only happen if the leaders set the proper example as Mayor Sacco has, over these past 32 years.