James J. Tedesco III
|Bergen County Executive|
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2015
James J. Tedesco III
February 5, 1953
Paramus, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Renee Marano (deceased)|
|Alma mater||Paramus High School|
|Website||Bergen County Freeholders|
James J. "Jim" Tedesco III (born February 5, 1953) is an American Democratic Party politician serving his first term as County Executive of Bergen County, New Jersey. He was the Democratic nominee for Bergen County Executive in the general election of November 2014, running against incumbent Kathleen Donovan. Tedesco won the election with 54.16% of the vote. He was sworn in just hours into 2015, and was later publicly sworn in on January 4, 2015, at Bergen Community College.
Early life and career
Jim Tedesco was born and raised in Paramus by his father, James Tedesco, Jr., who worked for the Borough as the Department of Public Works Supervisor, and his mother, Myrtle, a bookkeeper. Tedesco graduated from Paramus High School in 1971 and joined the Paramus Volunteer Fire Department shortly after.
Early Career and Bergen County Freeholder
Tedesco was elected to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2013, after serving as Mayor of Paramus from 2003 through 2010. Before beginning his term as Freeholder, he testified on the citizens' behalf at a Port Authority Board meeting on the Fort Lee lane closure scandal in November 2013.
Prior to being elected Mayor of Paramus, Tedesco served as a councilman from 2000 through 2002. Before seeking public office in Paramus, he served as the Recreation Commissioner and as a volunteer youth coach for various boys' and girls' sports, doing so for several decades.
Tedesco has been a Paramus Volunteer Firefighter for 37 years, and twice was selected to serve as Chief of the Department. After his election as Mayor, he continued to respond to fire calls. He currently holds the position of Deputy OEM Director, and helped coordinate the emergency services response to the 2013 Garden State Plaza shooting. Additionally, Tedesco served on the Board of Directors for the Red Cross of Northern New Jersey for two years.
Run for Bergen County Executive
Tedesco challenged Democratic nomination opponent James Carroll and incumbent Kathleen Donovan for Bergen County Executive in 2014. As the Democratic candidate, he received major support from figures such as Democratic Committee of Bergen County Chairman Lou Stellato, who said "Jim is unquestionably qualified and offers a brighter vision for Bergen County’s future, but what I find most impressive is his character." Tedesco challenged Donovan on a platform that highlights his own plan to merge the county police department with the sheriff's office, as well as Donovan's connections to recent scandals in the New Jersey state government, including the nationally-reported "Bridgegate" scandal and alleged campaign finance abuse among her staff. Election results showed Tedesco with 54.2% of the vote (107,958), ahead of Donovan with 45.8% (91,299), in a race in which Tedesco's campaign spending nearly $1 million, outspending Donovan by a 2-1 margin.
Bergen County Executive
During the first day in office, Tedesco signed a deal that would merge the Bergen County Police Department and the Bergen County Sheriff's Office. The deal went through following the approval of the freeholders who serve as the legislative body in the county.
For 36 years, Tedesco worked for Public Service Electric & Gas, finishing his career as a Regional Manager. Prior to joining the management ranks, he was a union representative and member of Pipefitters Local 274 and UA Local 855 AFL-CIO. Tedesco also previously served as an instructor at the Bergen County Technical Schools' EMS/HAZ MAT section, teaching HAZ MAT courses.
In 1973, Tedesco married Renee Marano, a high school classmate. Together, they had three children: Koren, James IV, and Holly. Renee died in 2009 of chronic lung disease, leaving Tedesco a widower at 55 years old.
- Ensslin, John (February 21, 2014). "Tedesco emerges to face Donovan". The Record (Bergen County).
- Ensslin, John. "Tedesco to be sworn in as Bergen County Executive Jan. 4", The Record (Bergen County), December 10, 2014. Accessed April 8, 2016. "James Tedesco will be sworn in as the new County Executive at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4, in a formal ceremony at Bergen Community College."
- Ensslin, John (January 2, 2014). "Bergen County freeholders to take on pay-to-play, again". The Record.
- "Freeholder James J. Tedesco III". Bergen County.
- Bergen County Directory. Bergen County. p. 10.
- Ensslin, John (March 4, 2014). "Bergen County Freeholders call for chairman of Port Authority and N.J. commissioners to resign". The Record (Bergen County).
- Kleimann, James (February 18, 2014). "Tedesco to face Donovan in Bergen County Executive race". NJ.com.
- Strunsky, Steve (March 20, 2014). "In Bergen County executive race, Bridgegate is an issue for at least one candidate". NJ.com.
- "Donovan's Chief Of Staff And Bergen County Administrator Questioned About Campaign Contributions". The Bergen Dispatch. 18 May 2014.
- Ensslin, John C.; and O'Neill, James N. "Tedesco upsets Donovan in race for Bergen County executive", The Record (Bergen County), November 4, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014. "Democrat James Tedesco, in a come-from-behind upset, won a hard-fought race for Bergen County Executive Tuesday, dealing Republican incumbent Kathleen Donovan her first loss at the county level in 25 years."
- Staff. "RESULTS OF MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY RACES", The Record (Bergen County), November 5, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014.
- Ensslin, John C. "Tedesco outspent Donovan 2-to-1 in Bergen County Executive race, final tally shows", The Record (Bergen County), December 4, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2014. "Tedesco spent $990,980, compared with $429,213 spent by Donovan in her unsuccessful bid for a second four-year term, reports compiled by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission showed."
- Staff. "New Bergen County Executive Signs Deal Merging Police, Sheriff’s Departments", WCBS-TV, January 1, 2015. Accessed April 8, 2016.
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