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Club News

On April 10th, 2008, the Glen Ridge Kiwanis Club, in conjunction with the Glen Ridge Women’s Club and volunteer organizations throughout town held a special reception called A Celebration of Volunteerism to honor Former Mayor Carl Bergmanson, and all of Glen Ridge’s many volunteers.


The celebrants with Mayors Callahan, Bergmanson and Hughes in the front



Mayor Hughes spoke about his predecessor:


Mayor Peter Hughes spoke about Mayor Bergmanson’s many accomplishments, and the importance of volunteerism in Glen Ridge. Here is the text of his speech:


I want to thank Jeff Monacelli and Lynne Oliver and the rest of the Kiwanis Club members for inviting us all here tonight. Celebrating Volunteerism in Glen Ridge and more specifically celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of my predecessor, former Mayor, Carl Bergmanson is important, and we should not miss the opportunity to recognize and highlight the value of volunteer service to the Borough.


I would venture that virtually everyone in this room tonight has at some point in time volunteered their time, talents and energy to the Borough. I made a quick list of all of the volunteer organizations here in town that I could think of and I came up with 30, and I’m sure that I did not capture them all.  30 or more groups that comprise hundreds of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours that amounts to tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings to the Borough.  We are all volunteers who together insure the quality of life we expect from our Town, and provide any number of essential services that a small government cannot.  On the governmental side, I am thinking not only of the Mayor and Council and Board of ED, but also of the Boards of Adjustment and the Planning Board, the Board of Health, HPC, MAC, CCC, Ch 36,  and  Library Trustees. On the Service side, there is the Home and School, GRAA, Volunteer Ambulance Squad, Freeman Gardens Assn, Glen Ridge Educational foundation, Womens’ Club, Booster Club, Band Parents Assn, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, Community Fund, Golden Circle, Historical Society, Girls and Boy Scouts and the Art Patrons. 


Governor Corzine is pushing to have towns like ours consolidate on the grounds that smaller towns are less efficient than larger towns.  We know that’s simply not true.  If we had to pay for all of the contributions that are made each day to our town by the volunteers here tonight, we could not do what we do at twice the cost of what we currently spend.  That’s why it is very important that we keep up the tradition of Volunteerism that is exemplified by our own Carl Bergmanson.  Without people like Carl, and all of us in the room who are willing to get involved, our Town will change and perhaps fundamentally. 


Now Carl is not your typical Glen Ridge volunteer, at least in my book.  Anyone who plays tackle football at his age, in shorts, in sub zero weather is as my grandmother would say “a bit daft”. Your typical Glen Ridge guy does not lay claim to represent the values of the Whig Party, drive a vintage station wagon, or root for the Minnesota Vikings in the heart of Giants Country. (If you’re not sure what the Whigs were, do what I did and look it up!) But your typical Glen Ridge guy doesn’t have the resume of service to the Borough that Carl has:

Councilman from 1991-1999 (9 years)

Council President 1996

Police Commissioner for 5 years

Mayor 2004-2008

Member at various times of both the Board of Adjustment and Planning Board

          Founder of the children’s games at the Memorial Day Parade at Hurrell Field

Founder of the Lorraine Street Committee for a radium free Glen Ridge

Member of the pool team and past trustee of the community pool

In addition to all of that, Carl is a member of the Kiwanis club and the gas lamp players theatre group.


That’s a heck of a list. But a list can’t capture the spirit of a guy that stood up for what he believed in, spoke his mind freely, wasn’t afraid of controversy, and worked hard for change. In his 4 years as Mayor, in a time when outside sources of funding essentially dried up, Carl spearheaded the largest number of capital improvements made to the borough - ever. Virtually every important public building in town will be improved by the work he initiated.  In addition to improvements made to Town Hall, the Library, and the Public Safety building, our public works yard will be completely redone and all of our recreational fields significantly improved.  New historic lights in the center of Town will improve visibility and safety along Bloomfield Ave, and the bridge over Toney’s brook in the Glen will bring access and new life to that park.


None of this was easy, Carl: you didn’t win all of your “turf battles” or succeed in making all of the changes you wanted: Glen Ridge is still part of Essex County, the governor is still in the statehouse, and the solar system is made up of eight not nine planets!


Of all of your accomplishments Carl, the one that made the most impression on me personally was not any of the capital improvements covered by the bond, or the pool, or the efforts to push for the radon remediation at Carteret. No, it was the series of speeches that you gave at each Memorial Day parade.  In each of those speeches, you talked about one person from Glen Ridge who served and died in each war: WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam,

and those speeches really hit me.  You spoke about those servicemen is very real terms, what house they lived in, what year they went to school, how old they were, who their family was, and it’s very appropriate that, as we recognize and thank you for your service to Glen Ridge, and as we recognize and thank everyone here tonight for the service that they have given to our town, that we also recognize the service that those servicemen have given to our Town and to our Country. 


Volunteers make Glen Ridge a special place; they preserve what we have and improve what they can.  We cannot survive as a Town, we will not survive as a Town, unless the citizens of this Town continue in the tradition of Volunteerism as exemplified by our former Mayor and get involved and volunteer to serve as Mayor or Councilperson, Member of the Board of ED, or any of the various boards and committees that we have in Town.


On behalf of the Borough, let me extend our thanks for your years of service, Carl, and extend our best wishes to you, your wife Ruby, and your son Andrew.


Nancy Everett from Congressman Pascrell’s Office presents Mayor Bergmanson with a proclamation



Mayor Bergmanson was honored by local, state and federal officials


Former Mayor Ed Callahan - who was Mayor when Carl was first elected to the Borough Council in 1990 - spoke of their work together, and of Carl’s accomplishments as a Councilman and Mayor. He also presented letters from President Bush and Governor Corzine honoring Carl. Nancy Everett, representing Congressman Pascrell’s office, read a letter from the Congressman applauding Mayor Bergmanson for his years of Public Service.


Glen Ridge Kiwanis Club President Lynne Oliver and Former Mayor Carl Bergmanson



Presentation of a Commemorative Plaque


At the end of the evening, Mayor Bergmanson was presented with a plaque by Glen Ridge Kiwanis President Lynne Oliver.