Introducing Madam Mayor Stevens
Grover Cleveland Middle School student experiences local government as Mayor for a Day in West Caldwell.
West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta, Jr. stepped aside at Tuesday night's council meeting to grant young Emma Stevens the privilege to be Mayor for a Day.
Emma, an incoming seventh-grader at Grover Cleveland Middle School, called the meeting to order and adjourned the meeting, led the Pledge of Allegiance and even helped introduce the amended budget.
“Madam Mayor” as she was addressed by the members of the council, also had more than one occasion to use the mayoral gavel.
“It was a fun experience,” said Emma, who when not practicing politics practices several sports, including soccer, softball, ice skating and skiing, and is involved with Girl Scouts. She said she also likes to read, particularly Percy Jackson stories.
The West Caldwell resident's mother, Robyn Stevens, won the opportunity to have her child be Mayor for a Day at the Taste of the Caldwells this spring. Mayor for a Day and Principal for a Day are among the items in the annual fundraiser’s silent auction.
Stevens, a teacher at Lincoln School, sat in the public along with her husband, Don, and their sons, Ryan, 10, and James, 9.
Although she said her daughter has never expressed to her an interest in politics, she thought it would be a good opportunity to learn about how government works.
“I thought she did great out there,” said dad.
In the middle of the serious business of introducing amended budgets, passing consent agendas and discussing township business, several councilmen took opportunities to joke around about their guest mayor.
“What would it take to actually make her permanent mayor?” Councilman Joseph Cecere asked. “It’s tough when there’s two mayors,” said Councilman Dominick Aiello, “one is usually plenty.”
Emma was presented with several mementos from real Mayor Tempesta, including her personalized nameplate and a West Caldwell flag, notebook and bag embellished with the township symbol, the cucumber magnolia tree.
As a final treat, Tempesta has invited the Stevens family to breakfast at the Original Pancake House. Setting a date is on the agenda.