Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Change Afoot at Ridgefield Nature Panel

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Change Afoot at Ridgefield Nature Panel

Article excerpt

RIDGEFIELD -- Two longtime members of the borough's Environmental Commission will not be reappointed for another term when the reorganization meeting is held today.

Karen and Bruce Riede, who are married and have been on the board since 2004 and 2005, respectively, said Friday that they were told earlier in the week by Mayor Anthony Suarez, a Democrat, that they would no longer serve on the commission. Karen Riede was chairwoman, and Bruce Riede was the commission's liaison to the Planning Board. Both their terms expired Dec. 31.

"We spent countless hours over a decade volunteering in a community that we love," the couple said in a statement, noting that they also staffed the Ridgefield Nature Center every Saturday for half a day since June 2006. "We felt that we did the best job that we could concerning environmental and shade tree matters. We are disappointed by this decision but wish the new chairperson and the borough well with the new direction they want to make."

Council President Russell Castelli said the council, which makes the appointments and is controlled by Democrats, decided it was time to give others a chance.

"They did a great job, but there are other people who would want to do some work on it also," said Castelli, who declined to name the residents who would take the couple's slots on the board.

But the agenda for the reorganization meeting shows that Frank Elenio, former chief financial officer at the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, will be appointed chairman, and Lisa Bicocchi, a past Board of Education trustee, will be named vice chairwoman. Harry Pfaff, who sits on the commission, will be reappointed for a three- year term and will represent the commission on the Planning Board.

The Environmental Commission oversees the Ridgefield Nature Center on Shaler Boulevard, whose future became a contentious topic during the recent council election, in which Castelli and fellow Democratic Councilman Javier Acosta were reelected.

During the campaign, the Republicans, who ran challengers John C. Abril and Stephen J. Liptak, circulated information indicating that the Democratic-controlled council had been considering other uses for the 5. …

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