The Saddle Brook mayor and council Thursday took turns reflecting on the tenure of Democratic councilman Joseph Setticase, who ended his re-election bid last week, opting instead to devote his free time to his family.
With Setticase's oldest son, Joe, 15, an elite travel baseball player, and his 11-year-old twins, Jake and Dean, also competitive athletes, Setticase said he felt pulled in too many directions by their sports obligations and no longer willing to sacrifice getting to watch them play.
“It’s not about running again, it’s about the next four years," Setticase said Thursday. "Do I want to run another four years and maybe not see my kids?...That’s all precious time and I’ve put 16 years of my life into this town.”
Councilwoman Florence Mazzer thanked Setticase for his service to the town and said he would be missed on the council.
"I’m proud to have served with you," she said. "You have nothing but the highest integrity and always the township’s best interest at heart."
Mayor Karen Chamberlain, whose husband Bruce served as a mentor to Setticase before his death, grew emotional during her comments for the departing councilman.
"One thing Bruce always used to say to Joey...'Whatever you do, Joe, don’t let the town down,'" Chamberlain recalled. "Well I’m proud to say this, someone we know is up in heaven that I think helped Joey make a decision not to let his family down. And I'm proud of you, Joe."
Setticase, who in addition to his 16 years on the township council has also coached football and baseball in Saddle Brook, said he'll miss being in the position to help residents.
“What I like about being a councilman is you are in a position of power to help people," he said, adding that he's always tried to do right by the town. “You want to walk away saying you did more good than bad. No one’s perfect, and I’m not perfect, but I hope that I’ve touched people in a good way."
In a unanimous vote last week, the Saddle Brook Democratic County Committee chose to replace Setticase on the ballot with Joseph Camilleri, a volunteer township sports coach.