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DODD IS BACK! Dover’s Mayor James Dodd Takes the Oath Amidst a Memorable Swearing-In Ceremony

Rescue Dover Team and Community Leaders Take Their Oaths with Pride

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DOVER — Although all the campaign signs from the election have been removed, one slogan remains etched in memory – “Bring Back Dodd.” On January 1, 2024, this sentiment became a reality as James P. Dodd of Dover was officially sworn in, assuming the esteemed position as the 37th Mayor of the town. The oath of office was administered during the ceremony by Judge Cecilia Sardina Guzman.

Dover, a town with a predominantly Hispanic population, regularly witnesses closely contested elections featuring rival Democratic factions. Dodd initially assumed the mayor’s office in 2003. However, his political fortunes began to wane in 2018, as Edward Correa spearheaded a successful campaign to wrest control of the Democratic municipal committee. Subsequently, Carolyn Blackman triumphed over Dodd in the following year, securing her position as Dover’s first African American and female mayor.

In the fiercely contested primary held in June 2023, Dodd ran against the incumbent, Carolyn Blackman, and the Democratic municipal chairman, Edward Correa. Dodd secured a decisive victory, garnering more than 56% of the votes, effectively eliminating Blackman and Correa from contention in the upcoming general election.

On November 7, Dodd emerged victorious in the General Election with a substantial lead, securing 1,482 votes, while his opponent Dennis Touhey received 626 votes.

On January 1, James P. Dodd Commences his Fifth Non-Consecutive Term as Mayor of the Town of Dover.

During Dodd’s swearing-in ceremony, former Mayor Carolyn Blackman was in attendance, and Mayor Dodd graciously acknowledged her presence while introducing the array of local political dignitaries typically present at such events.

Dodd administered the “Oath of Office” to Claudio P. Toro, who took on the responsibilities of Council member for the 1st ward. During the ceremony, her eleven-year-old son held the Bible.
Sergio Rodriguez, the recently elected Council member for the 2nd ward, solemnly took the oath of office administered by Mayor Dodd. During the ceremony, his wife stood by his side, holding the Bible, while their two children also participated in the momentous occasion.
Mayor James Dodd administered the oath to Arturo “AB” Santana, who assumed office as the representative for the 4th ward. Santana’s wife and children were present, observing this meaningful occasion.

Additionally, the accomplished members of the “Rescue Dover” team were sworn in alongside Mayor Dodd. This distinguished group includes Claudio P. Toro, a Council member for the first ward; Sergio Rodriguez, a Council member for the second ward; and Arturo “AB” Santana, a Council member for the fourth ward. Michael Scarneo, the Council member for the third ward, successfully secured re-election and was administered the oath of office by Mayor Dodd

Michael Scarneo, who secured re-election as the Council member for the 3rd ward, was officially sworn in by Mayor Dodd, and his wife and grandchildren hold the bible.
Jarrid H. Kantor, Esq., took center stage as Dover’s new Municipal Attorney. In a symbolic and solemn moment, Mayor Dodd had the honor of administering the oath of office, marking the commencement of Kantor’s legal stewardship over the town’s affairs
In a touching and meaningful ceremony, Judge Cecilia Sardina Guzman was sworn in as Dover’s Municipal Judge. Adding a heartwarming touch to the occasion, her children had the honor of holding the Bible during the oath-taking, symbolizing the family’s commitment to justice and the community.
Mayor Dodd had the pleasure of officiating the swearing-in ceremony for Tara Pettoni, who assumed the role of Dover’s Township Clerk for a term of three years, commencing on January 29, 2024.
Mayor Dodd also had the opportunity to swear in a new fireman, Giuseppe E. Santillo.
Dr. Edward Ramirez, D.B.A., had the privilege of inaugurating the ceremony, setting the tone for the proceedings.
James Dodd took the oath of office on New Year’s Day, in front of a packed and enthusiastic crowd that spilled beyond capacity at the Dover American Legion.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Mayor Dodd and the Council proceeded with the reorganization meeting. The extensive agenda featured over fifty resolutions necessary for conducting business in 2024. While the majority of these items were approved smoothly, Third Ward Council member Karol Ruiz posed a series of inquiries, notably regarding the salary of the new town clerk and the appointment of police chaplains. Tensions escalated to the point where Mayor Dodd issued a warning about the potential removal of Ruiz from the meeting, citing her questions as “nitpicking” and disruptive.

The 2024 Council members are:
•Claudia P. Toro, Council Member – First Ward
(December 31, 2025)


•Sandra Wittner, Council Member – First Ward
(December 31, 2024)


•Sergio Rodriguez, Council Member – Second Ward
(December 31, 2025)


•Geovani Estacio, Council Member – Second Ward
(December 31, 2024)


•Michael Scarneo, Council Member – Third Ward (December 31, 2025)
•Karol Ruiz, Council Member – Third Ward, (December 31, 2024)
•Arturo Santana, Council Member – Fourth Ward, (December 31, 2025)
•Marcos Tapia, Council Member – Fourth Ward, (December 31, 2024)

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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