OPINION: Oakland’s uninspiring Schwager proves ‘weak mayor’ system doesn’t work

By Matthew Gilson | The Save Jersey Blog

Democrats are blissfully hard to find in northwest Bergen County, Save Jerseyans.


It’s one of the reasons Northwest Bergen is an enticing place to live. But every once in awhile, a Democrat happens to slip through the cracks and breaks the wall to get elected. Back in 2011, it happened in strongly-Republican Oakland and now their mayor stands for re-election. Mayor Linda Schwager currently stands in the minority opposite the strongly Republican council in Oakland, just as she has throughout her term. In the weak mayor system, Schwager remains a mere figurehead and has no vote on matters unless the council is tied.

However, this fact seems to be lost upon the mayor.

The mayor is taking credit for the stabilization of taxes under her mayoral term; something she could not have had anything less to do with. This fact is not lost on her opponent, Councilman Pat Pignatelli, who is running to replace her. Pignatelli, who actually is responsible for the low tax rates, has taken exception to her position. In fact, his campaign Facebook pages notes how mayor has never voted on a budget.

Schwager is a typical Democrat ntaking credit for the success of others.

The Oakland GOP Team
The Oakland GOP Team

Schwager is not alone, though, as plenty of Democrats in similar situations are taking credit for what Republicans have actually done. It shows a general lack of knowledge on behalf of the electoral that we must work to fix, the idea of the “weak mayor” system is still not known by the masses. The truth is, in a weak mayor system where the mayor is strongly in the minority, they have little to no authority over budgets and hiring. If the mayor agrees that things are going well, it is a sign that they think the opposition party is doing a good job and they should lose theirs.

When the situation is reversed, this reality has not become lost on Republicans. In Bergenfield, Mayor Norman Schmelz, who sits on the wrong end of a 6-0 council, could not even get his council to host a street fair or sidewalk sale. Schmelz is running on his record as mayor of trying to create new community events, his love of his town, and his INABILITY to get anything done with a council that works constantly to raise taxes. What Schwager is doing is the opposite, using the successful Republican council that she works against and then takes credit for.

Talk about having your cake and eating it, too! Schwager consistently works against the progress Republicans make, then she tries to take credit for it. It is important that the voters of Oakland send a strong message to Schwager that they understand their form of government and that she is no longer wanted as mayor.


5 thoughts on “OPINION: Oakland’s uninspiring Schwager proves ‘weak mayor’ system doesn’t work

  1. I bet he dosen’t pay property taxes either – because what a statement against republicans. Ive worked with Linda as a local merchant in Oakland – She has been the only one to even show an interest in anything positive for OAKLAND. You really shouldn’t comment on things you dont know about son. I can understand how they can intimidate you. The republicans in town are known to be harsh and abrasive. Pat is a great guy but he is a push over for anyone. The best of the bunch is Visconti. Oakland has gotten so much better over the past few years. If she had others working with her – it would be amazing what they would have accomplished – she really took the bunch of them and at least managed them to be a better team. She has helped me negotiate with the copper tree mall other wide we would have left.She is at all public events , she is a business owner in town , she has managed people and process. She is the best for the job.

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