Boosted by newly-elected councilmembers allied with former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Councilman Michael Pagan was elected mayor of Teaneck tonight in a surprise move that passed over the man who was expected to win the post, seven-term Councilman Mark Schwartz.
Three women who ran on the Weinberg-backed Rise4Teaneck slate in the November non-partisan municipal election and captured township council seats – Danielle Gee, Denise Belcher and Hillary Goldberg – joined with Pagan to create a new majority.
Pagan had backed the re-election of Councilman Elie Katz, the lone winner from the Keep Moving Teaneck Forward Together slate, along with his three running mates.
Pagan, 46, is a veteran of New Jersey politics. A former Herald News reporter, Pagan worked for Assembly Speakers Albio Sires and Joseph Roberts, and then for U.S. Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg. He is a public information officer for Bergen County.
He replaces Mayor James Dunlevy, who declined to seek re-election this year. Councilman Keith Kaplan, who ran with Katz, was defeated in his bid for as second term. Another incumbent, Gervon Romney Rice, did not run again.
Schwartz and Katz, both Democrats, endorsed Republican Gov. Chris Christie for re-election in 2013.