In Woodland Park, you don’t win elections if you don’t have the backing of Mayor Keith Kazmark.
That led Christopher Mania to skip a bid for re-election to a Board of Education seat after Kazmark made it clear he wouldn’t be included on a slate this year.
Mania is the nephew of former Elmwood Park Mayor Frank Caramagna, who sparred with Kazmark when he served as the township clerk.
Caramagna resigned in 2019 as part of a plea deal with the Bergen County Prosecutor following an investigation into tampering with vote-by-mail ballots.
Kazmark left Elmwood Park in 2020 to become the full-time mayor/administrator. In a lawsuit, Kazmark alleged he was the victim of harassment and retaliation and that Caramagna repeatedly threatened borough employees, some of whom hold public office in other Bergen county municipalities, with campaign opposition.
The lawsuit was letter settled for $35,000.
Caramagna dropped out of his re-election campaign in late 2019 and was accepted into a pre-trial intervention program that allowed him to get the charges against him dismissed if he stayed clear of other violations for six months.
The three candidates backed by Kazmark – incumbents Mary Ann Perro and Adam Chaabane and newcomer Shannon Marren, a local recreation department official – are running unopposed in the November general election.