On Wednesday night, the Borough said “thank you” to a legend, an icon, and an institution in West Paterson/Woodland Park as Council President Joseph Spinelli stepped down from the dais. Spinelli was recognized for his 21-year commitment to serving the public during which time he faithfully and diligently represented the residents of the Borough.
Joe Spinelli served as a Borough Council member from Jan. 1, 2002 to May 4, 2022. Over his 21 years, he was Council President in 2011, 2014, 2019, and 2022. He served as chair of the Committee on Recreation & Community Relations in 2009 and 2011; Health & Senior Services Committee from 2005-2008, 2010, and 2012; Public Works Committee from 2013-2015, 2021, and 2022; and Public Safety Committee from 2016-2020.
Raised in then-West Paterson, Spinelli graduated Memorial School and Passaic Valley High School. He was a teacher at Memorial for 36 years before retiring in 2001. He taught math and history and served in various capacities as a coach. Spinelli raised his family in town as well.
“Whether he taught you, made sure your garbage was picked up, or helped you in another way, I cannot say enough about the dedication and service Joe has given to our town,” Mayor Kazmark said. He, along with Spinelli and Councilwoman Rita Pascrell embarked on a journey together 21 years ago running for the Council. “We have seen so many positive changes in our community and so much of that is a credit to Councilman Spinelli.”
“We have been friends. We have been colleagues. We have been family,” said Pascrell, whose 21 years of service will also come to an end at the end of 2022, as she is not seeking reelection.
As years go by and we embrace change, while he says leaving the Council is very bittersweet, Spinelli will continue his legacy of educating in town, teaching at the John P. Holland Charter School.