OTD in 1895: Secession

125 years ago today, on February 13, 1895, “Teaneck, dissatisfied with an administration which permitted “taxation without benefit” took advantage of an Act of Legislature to “secede.””

The first officers were:

  • Township Clerk, Frank S. De Ronde, 1895-98, John Ackerman, 1898-1901
  • Township Committee, William Bennett, 1895-98, Peter I. Ackerman, 1895-97, Henry J. Brinkerhoff, 1895-96
  • Freeholder, John J. Phelps, 1895-1901;
  • Assessor, Daniel G. Bogert, 1895-98, Jonathan Hawkins, 1898-1901
  • Collector, Tunis Cole, 1895-98 (died in 1895), Warren M. Cluss appointed in ’96, elected ’96-98
  • Justice of the Peace, Robert Stevenson, 1895-1900.

Reasons for Separation

At the time of Paul Volcker’s retirement in 1950, the Sunday Sun describes the origins of the Township.  You can read the article here:  Teaneck’s 1st Shaky Steps Formed Basis of Success

Like many another municipality in the state, Teaneck became a separate corporate body because of dissatisfaction over the manner in which taxes was spent. Most of the Township was then part of Englewood and “Englewood,” says an old account, “had a drainage problem.”  The people of the Teaneck section, mostly farmers and such wealthy landowners as the Phelps, sympathized with the Englewood city Fathers, but they couldn’t see their tax dollars going where they were receiving no benefit, so they decided to separate.  The act of secession was finally passed by the Legislature on February 13, 1895 (emphasis added).

Why study history? So we aren’t doomed to repeat it.

This week, Teaneck Today published information about the Democratic Municipal Committee creating an “ad hoc committee”. In an email from the Chair of the TDMC, she said the purpose of the committee was to “explore[] the limitations and rights of the Teaneck Democratic Municipal Committee to participate in n on-partisan municipal elections

You can read more about the issue and participate in the discussion at the link: here

Seeking to change longstanding rules isn’t something that should be taken likely.  Political powers wax and wane.  And while this may seem like a move that would help some today, it may not be so desirable, tomorrow.

It’s worth remembering that this isn’t a new idea, either.

From the minutes of Council on June 11, 2008:

C. Kates agreed with C. Feit.  C. Kates does not think it is coincidental of the challengers to be representatives of a certain group.  Hopes Teaneck remembers that it is a nonpartisan professionally managed community.  C. Kates spoke about the County politics influencing Teaneck, the shared vision of African Americans and Jewish people in the fight for civil rights and that she feels the community does not trust the Council. Recommends the Advisory Board on Community Relations needs to be more involved and Council needs to use them.

Do we want to go down this road, Teaneck?