Andrew Bertone, a former mayor of Rutherford, passed away on December 16. He was 91.
Bertone enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17 and saw active duty in the South Pacific during World War II. He spent 30 years with Mobil Oil as a medical technician and toxicologist.
After serving as Rutherford’s civil defense director in the early 1960’s, Bertone embarked on a long career in local politics.
A Republican, Bertone was elected to the Rutherford Borough Council in 1970. He won a one-year unexpired term to replace councilman Eugene Garrett by a vote of 807 to 446 against Democrat Vincent McGrath.
He was re-elected in 1971, but lost re-election in the 1974 Watergate landslide by 614 votes as Democrats won control of Rutherford for the first time in since the 1800’s.
Bertone returned to win back a council seat in 1976, defeating Democrat Ann Pickering by 83 votes. He was re-elected in 1979, 1982, 1985, and 1988.
In 1987, Bertone was the Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 36th district. The two Republican incumbents were not seeking re-election: Kathleen Donovan was running for the State Senate, and Paul DiGaetano, who lost a special election for Senate earlier that year, was not running.
Democrats Louis Gill, the Passaic council president, and Garfield mayor Thomas Duch, won that year. Duch ran 3,008 votes ahead of Calandriello, while Gill out-polled by Bertone by 5,018.
Bertone was elected mayor in 1991. He defeated incumbent Democrat Glenn Elliott by 239 votes. He won a rematch against Elliott by 309 votes in 1995.
Bertone lost his bid for a third term as mayor in 1999 to Democrat Bernadette McPherson, a councilman. McPherson won by 789 votes.