But when Turner, township manager James Marchetti, and the members of the council took the official oaths of office last Saturday for another four-years heading the township, it was a little more than ceremonial.
In fact, it was so important to the elected officials that the inaugural ceremonies were actually held twice -
once at a "Thank You" celebration at Schuetzen Park in North Bergen last Friday night and another at the township's official reorganization meeting Saturday morning.
"It's a very nice experience," said Turner, who took the oath as mayor for his fifth term. "It's also a humbling and an enjoyable experience all in one. I just hope that we can continue to do the job we've been doing for the people of Weehawken. We've been able to accomplish many of our goals and objectives that we set out to do. It's an ongoing process."
Turner, who is officially elected as a Councilman-At-Large, then gets appointed as mayor in the manager/council form of government, received no opposition from the council in once again being appointed as the mayor.
"I would say that the assumption was always there," Turner laughed.
With retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Garibaldi presiding and with his wife, Eileen, and children Richard and Katie looking on, Turner took the oath of office and pledged to carry the township through the next four years, a term that could see significant changes in the landscape of the town, especially along the burgeoning Hudson River waterfront.
Two major development projects, Port Imperial South and Hartz Mountain Industries, have already been approved by township officials and could very well move forward in rapid fashion over the next four years.
The development projects should bring in millions of new tax ratables into the township and should turn the Weehawken waterfront into a hustling metropolis of residential and commercial activity.
"There is a lot of development on the books right now," Turner said. "The main goal over the last four years was to get the mass transit in place. It's now here with the [NJ Transit Hudson-Bergen] Light Rail and the new [NY Waterway] ferry terminal. NJ Transit is also in the process of overhauling its bus routes, so once those are official, we can begin our own bus shuttle. But we had to make sure the light rail and the ferry terminal were completed. I think we're now going to see an orderly development of the waterfront."
Roseland Properties, Inc., the developer behind the Port Imperial South project, is expected to begin shortly with its second phase of its $500 million development. The first phase, a string of townhouses along the waterfront, was completed in 2004. The second phase includes both commercial and residential development and will be placed within the general vicinity of the new NY Waterway ferry terminal.
Hartz Mountain Industries has already begun development of its next phase of the Lincoln Harbor Plaza project, by constructing a new parking deck to handle more than 4,000 vehicles. Once the parking is in place, Hartz Mountain plans to build three new, mostly residential, additions to the Lincoln Harbor Plaza.
Another vital aspect to the waterfront development will be the construction of the township's planned 1.7-acre recreational park on Port Imperial Boulevard. Work has already begun on the park and Turner hopes to have a portion of the new park completed in time for the fall.
"The first elements of the park, like the soccer field and football practice field, may be done by the fall," Turner said. "The riverfront walkway should also be done. We're still looking at funding sources to complete the park."
The park is expected to be completed sometime in 2007.
Another issue that Turner will address this term is the quality of life in the township.
"We're going to focus on the quality of life," Turner said. "We're going to extend and expand the township's beautification program. We're going to continue to spruce up Park Avenue. We're going to work on our parks. Louisa Park is already under reconstruction. The work near the Water Tower is continuing."
Turner said that he also will address the need for affordable housing. The township is in the process of purchasing an 18-unit apartment complex on Park Avenue, with two- and three-bedroom apartments, to add more affordable housing in the future.
There have been critics of the Turner administration, saying that a five-term mayor could get complacent and stale over the years.
"I never pay attention to the naysayers," Turner said. "Whether people support us or not, we have to have goals and objectives and we need to carry them out. As long as we continue to reach those goals and move forward, then there's nothing wrong. We feel instead of 'It's not broke, so don't fix it,' we're more like, 'It's not broke, but let's make it even better.' If you keep the trust of the people and continue to move forward, there doesn't have to be a lot of change."
Turner's council members, namely Third Ward Councilman and Deputy Mayor Robert Sosa, Second Ward Councilwoman Rosemary Lavagnino, First Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri Ehret, and Councilman-At-Large Robert Zucconi also took the oaths to serve for the next four years.
"Carmela and Bob Zucconi will be entering their first full terms in office, so we've had tremendous change internally," Turner said.
There were no changes to the township's organizational structure.
"But if anyone ever thinks we're getting complacent, then there would be someone else running the town," Turner said.