Editor's note: Ron Verdicchio was misidentified in the original article.
After a combined 28 council years between them, you'd think Dave Pfund and Pat Mancuso would have mastered public meeting procedural rules. But at their last official meeting presiding in the Sydney V. Stoldt Jr. Court Room, the outgoing mayor and councilman stumbled a little while shifting through items.
"Well I thought it was a roll call but Heather said no," said Pfund as Village Clerk Mailander set the governing body straight.
With the month nearing its conclusion so marks the term termination of two onetime mayors. Several residents took the opportunity to thank Pfund and Mancuso for their eight and 20 years of service, respectively.
Fourth of July Committee President Margie Downs presented the two with placards from their time on Independence Day parade floats.
"Of course, we're thanking Pat for his years as liaison to the Fourth of July Committee," Downs said. "I'll always remember Mayor Pfund speaking before the fireworks up there with his whole family—the way it's supposed to be, with his family."
Pfund's wife and two children were on hand for the mayor's last meeting. The young boys took in their dad presiding on the dais for a last time.
Ron Verdicchio, former Ridgewood Education Foundation president, credited Pfund for "time away from his family to be in service to citizens of Ridgewood."
A longtime resident, Verdicchio said Mancuso came into village government following tough economic times in the 1980s. Verdicchio highlighted one situation that he felt was Mancuso's standout moment.
As the mayor in the late 1990s, Mancuso helped Ridgewood schools work through a difficult time. With the Paterson basketball team visiting Ridgewood, "a terrible racial incident" occurred. Mancuso with Verdicchio and the superintendent met in a closed-door, off-the-record session with their Paterson counterparts. The meeting was a great success, and everyone kept mum about what transpired.
"Pat could have used it in his political career for many different reasons, and he chose not to," Verdicchio said. "There's no historical record, nothing in newspapers... But I think we've reach the statute of limitations: Pat really handled the situation."
Asking his son to cover his ears, Pfund told a story where Verdicchio—a former Ridgewood junior high physical education teacher—caught the future mayor skipping class.
"To think 25 years later you'd be thanking me... I guess what goes around, comes around," Pfund said.
Last night there was no official ceremony for the outgoing members, but Deputy Mayor Keith Killion thanked his colleagues and promised some nice words at the reorganization meeting.
Mancuso and Pfund will attend the reorganization meeting July 1 when Tom Riche and Bernadette Walsh will be sworn in. The two new members will join Killion and Councilman Paul Aronoshn in choosing the new mayor and deputy mayor.