District 401 board member appointed Elmwood Park trustee
Updated: November 5, 2012 10:54AM
ELMWOOD PARK — A School Board member and candidate on the mayor’s slate for the village election will get some time on the board until then.
Albert J. Fang Jr. was appointed to the Village Board Oct. 1, filling former trustee Alan Bennett’s seat. Fang will be one step ahead of the political opposition as a trustee. He is also running to fill one of three trustee spots on the board in the April 2013 election with the Village Unity Party of Elmwood Park.
Elmwood Park Mayor Peter Silvestri is also running for re-election as a member of Village Unity, and as mayor, recommends the appointment to fill board vacancies, with board approval. Fang was one of four people who applied for the seat.
But one trustee inquired about the need to fill the vacancy in word and deed, voting against Fang being appointed. The rest voted in favor of Fang.
Prior to Monday’s vote, Elmwood Park Village Trustee Sam LaBarbera asked if the board could function without filling the vacancy. He said appointing Fang would circumvent the political process.
“Let the people of the community voice their opinion,” he said. “You are using the board to promote your political agenda at the public’s expense.”
LaBarbera, once a long-time ally of Silvestri, applied to be a member of Village Unity slate, but was not chosen. He is seeking re-election as an independent.
Silvestri said, regardless of the political situation, the village needs a seven-member board.
“Sam LaBarbera’s newfound independence is very interesting,” he said.
He said LaBarbera is trying to get attention. LaBarbera congratulated Fang after the meeting, shaking his hand.
Silvestri also got into a verbal squabble with members of Elmwood Park Voice Party, who were in the audience Monday with trustee candidate Anthony “Tony” Del Santo storming out of the meeting, alleging Silvestri called him a loser. Del Santo ran for trustee once before and did not win.
Fang, 50, and a member of the Elmwood Park School District 401 Board, will spend close to six months on the Village Board. He said he plans to resign from the School Board at the Oct. 17 meeting, after six years on the board.
After his swearing in, half of the room, made up of family, friends and supporters, applauded. Fang said he will stand by the words he swore to uphold as a trustee, serving to the best of his ability “so help me God.”
Silvestri said Fang living on the north side of the village and his family’s name in the community was a plus, as was his experience on the School Board.
Fang said his appointment is not about politics.
“This is about the residents of Elmwood Park and nothing else,” he said. “It’s a shame others feel differently.”
He said he wants to make sure school safety remains a priority.
Fang has lived in Elmwood Park since 1968 and is an independent business owner, running an ADT security service and ACN Inc., which deals in energy and telecommunication sales. He is married to his wife, Gail, and has four children, Jesse, Tess, Nicholas and AJ.