|Camden Board of Education - 1955|
|Around the Table:|
|Camden Board of Education - 1957|
The Political Career and Mayoralty of Alfred Pierce
In the 1950s, in response to community dissatisfaction with the decline in both city services and the way that Camden was being run by Mayor Brunner and his Democratic organization, Alfred Pierce formed Citizens United to Save Our City. Save Our City embraced the predominantly black, Italian, Jewish, and Hispanic voters of North and East Camden who had been ignored by Mayor Brunner over the years as his power base became increasingly isolated in the Fairview section of the city.
In 1959, with support from the Hispanic community, Alfred Pierce defeated Mayor Brunner and ended his 23 year term as mayor. The Save Our City ticket also took four of the five seats on the city commission. Alfred Pierce initiated a city charter change, and in 1961 the city changed its from of government from the commissioner system, to the city council system under which it operates today. Pierce became the first Mayor under the new charter in 1961, and was re-elected in 1965. His greatest success may have been forging coalitions that brought black an Hispanic members to Camden's City Council for the first time.
As Mayor, Alfred Pierce initiated a large number of projects in the hope of revitalizing Camden, but for the most part these did not come to fruition. His policy of demolition of entire neighborhoods led to the departure of many of Camden's remaining middle- and upper-class citizens. While the Pierce administration could count a few successes such as the Northgate high-rise apartments and the expansion of the Rutgers campus in North Camden, these successes came at the expense of the residents and neighborhoods which were disrupted to make way for these and other projects. Mayor Pierce also failed to stem the flight of manufacturing jobs from Camden, and with that, the population of Camden declined by approximately 15,000 from 1960 to 1970. Property values fell every year after 1960. The term of Alfred Pierce as Mayor ended in 1969, when the Democratic City organization was able to elect Joseph M. Nardi Jr. as Mayor.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960|
Is Ousted As Safety Head
By LEE STEW ART
Amid cheers and boos from spectators, Mayor Pierce was switched from director of public safety to public affairs director at a commission meeting Thursday night.
Pierce lost control of the police and fire departments by a 4·1 vote. The motion to divest the mayor of the public safety department was made by Commissioner Abbott and seconded by Commissioner Garrity. Pierce cast the lone dissenting vote against the change.
At 8:25 p. m. after the commission had gone through the routine business, Commissioner Shepp handed a sheaf of papers to City Clerk John T. Odorisio. Odorisio started shuffling the papers when Shepp told him to read them in the order he gave them to him.
resolutions read by the clerk first changed the duties of the various
commissioners. The more than 500 spectators cheered then booed as Pierce
cast the only dissenting vote.
Then Odorisio read the resolution which then transferred four of the commissioners.
Garrity, who was public affairs director, was named top succeed Pierce as public safety director in charge of the police and fire departments.
The public affairs directorship was a sharply curtailed one as contrasted to what Garrity had. Assigned to the department of public affairs was the director's office, the revaluation program, visiting nurses, public assistance, the Camden County Historical Society, charitable institutions, the Parking Authority, Civil Defense and celebration of public events, anniversaries and holidays.
Garrity retained the health department, sanitary control and cemeteries.
Taken away from the department of public affairs and given to other commissioners was the plumbing inspector, municipal court, Municipal Hospital, Convention Hall, city clerk, elections, city property, bureau of tax title perfection and redemption, municipal welfare and Radio Station WCAM.
Commissioner Abbott was designated director of the department of public works; Italiano was named director of public parks and property, while Shepp retained the department of revenue and finance. Pierce again cast the lone dissenting vote.
Declines to Make Statement
"I'd rather not make any statement at this time," Italiano replied. "I may make a statement later."
The reporter pointed out that whatever the commissioner had to say should be in today's newspaper. Italiano repeated:
"I'd rather not have anything to say right now. I may have a statement in a day or two."
Commissioner Garrity left the meeting room while the reporter was talking to Italiano.
Again, this morning, a reporter contacted Italiano and asked him if he would explain his vote. He replied:
Commissioner Garrity, reached at his home today, also was asked if he had any statement to make concerning his vote to strip Mayor Pierce.
"I haven't prepared any statement as yet," Garrity said. "I will have one later. I am figuring it out in my mind."
Following the changes, Michael J. Piarulli, city solicitor who would have reported to Shepp under the realignment, resigned. He previously was under Pierce's office.
"I cannot, in good conscience, continue to work as city solicitor in a department headed by Commissioner Shepp," Piarulli said. "I have nothing against Shepp. In due fairness, I do not feel I could do justice to the job."
meeting was thrown open to the public and many persons present spoke
against the action of the commissioners in taking the department of
public safety from Pierce.
June 10, 1960
Overflow crowd of more than 500 spectators jammed city commission chambers Thursday night at meeting which stripped Mayor Pierce of his duties as director of public safety and made him director of public affairs.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960|
|Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960|
This is how the departments were assigned to the commissioners Thursday night:
Mayor Pierce, director of public affairs: the director's office, revaluation program, visiting nurses, public assistance, Camden County Historical Society, charitable institutions, parking authority, civil defense and' celebration of public events, anniversaries and holidays.
Commissioner Garrity, director of public safety: the director's office, police bureau, fire bureau, electrical bureau, municipal motors, health department; sanitary control and cemeteries,
Commissioner Italiano, director of, parks and public property: director's office, public parks, playgrounds, street lighting, bureau of smoke control, municipal welfare, municipal hospital, municipal court, sealer of weights and measures, transportation inspector, board of Alcoholic Beverage Control, public libraries, city baseball league, municipal market, Station WCAM and Convention Hall.
Commissioner Abbott, director of public works: director's office, city engineer, bureau of highways, bureau of sewers and sewage treatments, streets, bureau of animal welfare, water bureau, plumbing inspector and South Jersey Port Commission.
Commissioner Shepp, director of revenue and finance: director's office, city comptroller, annual audit, assessor's office, city counsel, city property, bureau of tax title perfection and redemption, repairs to tax title lien properties, tax office, printing and advertising, publicity and public welfare, planning and housing redevelopment, stationery and supplies, housing and rehabilitation, purchasing bureau, building inspector, city clerk and elections.
|Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960|
Borstein to Quit As Deputy Police, Firemen Aide
Isadore Borstein today announced he plans to resign as deputy commissioner of police and firemen as an aftermath of Mayor Pierce's loss of those departments by action of the four other city commissioners.
Borstein said he would tender his resignation today, and is considering also resigning as deputy mayor for which he receives $4 a year. Before acting on the latter, Borstein said, he will first discuss the matter with Mayor Pierce.
Trenton Evening Times - April 28, 1963
Click on Images for PDF File of Complete Article
Camden Fire Department
First Annual Retirement Dinner
May 3, 1965
T. Cahill - Alfred
R. Pierce - Edward
Keith Kauffman - Rev. W.A. Gwynne - Edward R. MacDowell
Howard W. Ways - George L. Boone - Isaac Muns - John C. Voll John T. Clemmens - Harrison B. Pike - Albert A. Weller
Austin E. Marks - Edward Y. Scott - John W. Yates
|Click on Images to Enlarge|
|Camden Courier-Post - July 5, 1967|
41st Annual Affair
Crippled Children’s Party Tomorrow
The Crippled Children’s Committee of Camden Elks Lodge 293 will sponsor its 41st annual party for crippled children tomorrow.
S.S. Norcross 3rd, exalted ruler of the lodge, and Edward J. Griffith, president of the Crippled Children’s Committee, said the children will board buses at 10:30 AM at the Elks' home, 807 Cooper Street.
First stop will be Sergeant Ray Smith's home on Lake Renee, where the, children will have their annual picnic lunch. Following lunch they will ride horses from the Persian Acres Dude Ranch operated by County Detective Robert Di Persia.
Erial Fire Company will pick up the children for a ride to the Nike Missile Base in Erial, then onto Clementon Lake Park. Following dinner in the Chick Barn at Silver Lake Inn, the youngsters will return to the Elks' Home.
Among those helping Sgt. Ray celebrate his 72nd birthday at Silver Lake Inn later in the evening will be former Judge Samuel P. Orlando, Congressman John E. Hunt, Jersey Joe Walcott, Mayor Alfred Pierce and state Senator Frederick J. Scholz and recently appointed Prosecutor A. Donald Bigley.
|Camden Courier-Post - September 16, 2005|
He attended Woodrow Wilson High School where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Barbara A. Markert. After graduating in 1939, he worked at Campbell Soup Company as a timekeeper while attending the College of South Jersey (known today as Rutgers in Camden). As WWII broke out, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force, achieved the rank of captain and piloted 51 missions in the African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. After the war, he attended Dickinson Law School and graduated in 1948. He and his wife, Barbara, moved back to Camden where he practiced law, became a member of the School Board, and later ran for city government under the Save Our City Campaign.
Mr. Pierce was a champion for social justice in the 1960's and continued that interest throughout his life. Mr. Pierce, nicknamed 'Red' at an early age because of his red hair, advocated fearlessly on behalf of others. After leaving public service, he re-entered the practice of law and world business. He also is the author of a book, 'It is Finished,' which approaches the Holy Scriptures with a legal curiosity.
Mr. Pierce is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Barbara; their three children, Barbara Pierce Farmer and her husband Lee, of Boulder, Colorado, Debra Star Pierce of San Anselmo, California, and Alfred R. Pierce, Jr. and his wife, Judy, of Moorestown, New Jersey. and three grandchildren, Alfred III, Brienne and Gianna, all of Moorestown, New Jersey. 'Red' will be greatly missed and live on in the hearts of his family and friends around the world. The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude and appreciation to the wonderful people who helped care for Mr. Pierce during his last years spent at the Masonic Home.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a visitation on Sunday evening, September 18th from 6:00-8:00pm at SNOVER/GIVNISH of Cinnaminson, 1200 Rte. 130 North. Mr. Pierce's nephew, Rev. Frank Robinson, will officiate at a memorial service on Monday September 19th at 11:00am, followed by the internment at Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, New Jersey.
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Camden Courier-Post January 27, 1950; June 10, 1960; September 16, 2005
Camden County, New Jersey- The Making of a Metropolitan Community 1626-2000 Jeffrey M. Dorwart - Rutgers University Press 2001