One of Fort Lee’s two incumbent Councilmen, who were re-elected in November, took the oath of office Thursday, but it was the conspicuous absence of his running mate that took many by surprise.
Democrats Joseph Cervieri Jr. and Harvey Sohmer easily won reelection on Nov. 6, 2012, and both had been scheduled to be sworn in at the Mayor and Council’s annual reorganization meeting, but Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said that he received what he called “a very troubling phone call” at about 2 p.m. Thursday that Sohmer had been rushed to the hospital.
“He’s doing fine; he’s at the hospital for observation purposes, and his wife and family are with him and our prayers are with him,” Sokolich said. “Knowing Harvey, he’s going to come through this fully and uneventfully.”
Sokolich offered no further details on the cause of Sohmer’s sudden hospitalization.
After Rabbi Meir Berger of the New Synagogue of Fort Lee gave the invocation and Democratic Municipal Chairwoman Kay Nest and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) delivered remarks in support of Fort Lee’s all-Democratic governing body, Municipal Court Judge John DeSheplo administered the oath of office to Cervieri with his wife, Joanne, by his side.
Sokolich said officials hoped to be able to swear in Sohmer, in spite of his hospitalization, later Thursday night.
“We are going to try to accomplish that tonight at the hospital because he’s up to it,” Sokolich said. “And knowing Harvey and his commitment to the community, he wouldn’t want even a day to go by without serving officially as a councilman.”
Sokolich said the “mini-ceremony” for Sohmer would take place at Englewood Hospital with a more formal swearing in planned for Jan. 17.
Cervieri said Sohmer indeed took his oath of office later Thursday night from his hospital bed. He said he was shocked to find out, just before the council meeting, that his running mate had been hospitalized.
Speaking Friday morning, Cervieri told Patch that Sohmer seemed to be in good spirits and was expected to be out of the hospital soon.
“He’s fine; he had a minor episode,” Cervieri said. “They did a bunch of tests on him yesterday. It seemed like he was fine. He’s going to be probably released from the hospital today after they do an MRI this morning.”
Sokolich also delivered his annual State of the Borough Address Thursday, discussing some of the highlights of 2012 and what residents can look forward to in 2013.