Popular Councilman Resigning In Teaneck -- 
To Become Police Chief In Massachusetts

By Don Stancavish, Staff Writer

(From: The Record, July 4, 1997, Friday; Page L-2)

Township Councilman Gary Fiedler, a former Teaneck police captain who became active in politics after pledging to give youths a greater voice in the community, will resign from his council seat Tuesday night.

Fiedler said Thursday he is leaving to take a job as police chief of Rehoboth, Mass., a rural town of 9,400 about 15 miles east of Providence, R.I.

"He's given 24 years to the town as a police officer, rising to the rank of captain, and he has served three years as a council member," said Teaneck Mayor Paul Ostrow. "We're going to miss him."

Fiedler also will be leaving his job as head of the South Orange Parking Authority when he moves to Massachusetts later this month.

He said he plans to announce his resignation from the council officially at Tuesday night's meeting.

Allan Klepper, executive secretary of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, said Fiedler will replace Chief George Warish, who is retiring after 26 years on the force. Fiedler will start no later than July 25, Klepper said.

Timothy W. Withers, chairman of Rehoboth's Board of Selectmen, told the Providence Journal-Bulletin that Fiedler was chosen over several internal candidates because the town was looking for "an older, more experienced guy. 

Asked Thursday about his new position, Fiedler, a low-key member of Teaneck's sometimes combative council, said: "It's no big deal. It was one of a couple of jobs I had applied for and was interested in."

In 1994, Fiedler, 51, was one of three political newcomers to capture a seat on the Teaneck Council. In that election, he placed second in a nine-candidate field. Fiedler would have been up for reelection next year.

As a councilman, he has served as liaison to the township's community relations advisory board. He also has been a member of the township ethics board.

A Hudson County native and former Marine, Fiedler joined the Teaneck Police Department in 1971. He rose to the rank of captain and in 1991 was one of two top officers considered to succeed retiring Chief Bryan Burke.

Ultimately, Township Manager Gary Saage named police Capt. Donald Giannone to the job.

Fiedler had a distinguished career as a Teaneck officer. He played a key role following the 1990 fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white Teaneck police officer. After the shooting, as many residents called for Burke's resignation, Fiedler assumed control of many of the day-to-day responsibilities in the embattled department.

In 1991, Fielder was honored by the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association for helping negotiate the release of an infant held hostage by a gunman.

It was unclear Thursday whether the council will move to appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of Fiedler's term, or if an election would be held in November to fill the seat, said Township Clerk Peggy Clay.

 

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