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Former Mayor David Pfund Appointed Ridgewood Municipal Judge

Ex-mayor takes over for Judge Philip F. Sheridan, who resigned earlier this month.

First it was Mayor Pfund. Now it's Judge Pfund.

After a 3-2 vote, the Ridgewood Village Council Wednesday night appointed David Pfund as the next man to don the robes of the Sydney Stoldt Court Room.

Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck and Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli voted in favor of the appointment. Councilman Tom Riche and Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh were the two dissenting votes.

Pfund's appointment comes on the heels of the resignation of long-time judge Philip F. Sheridan, who was given an ultimatum when a new law barred law firms from employing municipal judges if they donated to political campaigns.

Sheridan's firm, Archer & Greiner, made more than $330,000 in contributions since 2003. A public records search yielded no political donations made from his law firm, nor Pfund himself.

According to Riche and Walsh, the village missed an opportunity with the Wednesday night appointment.

"While I'm sure Dave will do a wonderful job, this town missed an opportunity for a long-time shared services possibility where the taxpayers certainly could have saved money," Riche said. 

Both he and Walsh favored Ridgewood sharing a municipal judge with another municipality.

Pucciarelli, however, said the caseload in Ridgewood justified having a full-time judge. He noted Pfund won't be collecting health benefits and that his salary is lower than Sheridan's. The former mayor's appointment would not preclude the village from exploring shared service agreements going forward, Aronsohn added.

While Pfund will be making less in salary than Sheridan had made, the exact figure was not immediately available, according to Village Manager Ken Gabbert. He said the salary is in the range of $16,000-$25,000.

The former mayor wasn't the only local politician considered – former councilman Steve Wellinghorst also had been considered before dropping out weeks ago, sources said. Several other candidates have also been sitting judges, like Judge Russell Teschon, who holds court in Wyckoff and Glen Rock.

Pfund, a Ridgewood resident who graduated from RHS, was a member of the council from 2002-2010 and served as mayor from 2004-2010.

Admitted to the New Jersey state bar in 1991, Pfund chose not to run for re-election in 2010 so as to focus on his law practice, Pfund and McDonnell. The firm, based in Ridgewood, is just steps from Village Hall. Pfund has never been a judge before.

Pfund has served on the zoning and planning boards and has been active as a youth sports coach.

Pfund will begin hearing cases next week. His term ends on June 30, 2014.

"I'm just very excited to serve the village in this capacity," Pfund said following the appointment. "I look forward to the opportunity to do so."

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

delgado September 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Why did republican Walsh vote no? Was there someone the Republican Party boss and double dipper republicans anted instead?
Long Time Resident September 27, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I can't help but find this interesting. Councilman Tom Riche and Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh were the two dissenting votes. "If we had explored this a little further perhaps we could have made decisions that would have been more cost effective for the village," Riche said. Where was Riche's and Walsh's concern for taxpayers when Riche, Walsh and Killion gave Gabbert a 12% - $20,000.00 retrocative pay raise?
News Man September 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM
David Pfund Esq. will make an excellent qualified Judge in our Municipal Court and he will do well I'm sure. The salary range is modest and appropiate. There should never have been a split vote on this appointment.
Bea O'Rourke September 27, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Wonderful choice - David Pfund Esq.! Bea O'Rourke
News Man September 27, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Thanks Bea, now if the Judge could clarify into what 'petty cash account' they put those traffic fines funds in, it might be worthwhile to check that out too. Are they used to run the court and pay for their staff or for other purposes?
Mikka H September 27, 2012 at 02:04 PM
we just rid ourselfs of this moma boy and now the sitting council vote's him back into the fold??????? what happen to "focusing on my law practice" ????? are you going to tell me that his firm is NOT donating to political funds???? WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE RIDGEWOOD RESIDENTS???? HELLO?
jp1 September 27, 2012 at 02:30 PM
What proof do you have?
KHK September 27, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I take issue with your characterization of him as a "Momma's Boy" given that his Mother recently passed away..does anyone think before they speak anymore?
Rene September 27, 2012 at 05:57 PM
David is a good man. Very fair, and an assett to the town at all times. Good luck to him.
maureen September 27, 2012 at 09:20 PM
This man Pfund sold out our town (changing ordinance ) so Valley Hospital could pave its way to a new H-zone while his firm had Valley listed as his client . OMG !!! What is wrong with this town that we voted this guy back into our political system. What was wrong with saving tax dollars and sharing a judge ??? So disgusted with the politics in this town.. Cronyism at its worst
Mikka H September 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Thx Maureen.....at least someone on this thread has some common sense.....a lacking commodity these days....jp1 is looking for proof of a law firm in NJ not paying the entrance fee and KHK is taking "issue" with my momma's boy comment and some how connecting it with said passing... it's no wonder Ridgewood is a laughing stock......
DJK September 28, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Pretty ignorant commenting above. Best get all your facts straight. Calling someone names because you think you know more than others only makes you look like someone who is commenting just to comment. There will always be oppostion...just be sure you know what you are arguing since opposition can help a community see all sides of a situatuion but maybe think about avoiding name calling since it doesn't exactly make you sound credible.
News Man September 28, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Can writers with just initial IDs update their profile page so our readers can evaluate their comments more fairly please. I'm sure our Editors for Patch Pages would appreciate that too.
Mikka H September 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Really DJK? talk about ignorant commenting....yea, your right....I should get ALL MY FACTS STRAIGHT b4 I call someone a name....what the hell is that supposed to mean???? OMG I can't stop laughing.....! oh, and bye the bye.....why news man do you want "just initials " to "update their profiles? "evaluate their comments"? is that a threat? r u going to out someone because they prefer to remain unidentified????? what r your true intentions?
Legal Eagle October 04, 2012 at 09:57 AM
There are a few key statements here......."heavy caseload" and "never been a Judge before". Wake up people. How do you appoint a Judge in that size court that is inexperienced? POLITICS!!!!!!!!! Another move that empowers the Democrats and/or Republicans and the taxpayers foot the bill. This is one of the reasons our judiciary is broken and does not work!!!!!

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