Frank
Italiano


 

FRANK ITALIANO was born in Camden, New Jersey on May 26, 1927 to Joseph A. and Josephine Italiano. His father worked as a barber, and had his own barbershop. When the census was taken in April of 1930, the Italiano family, which included older brothers Chester, Leonardo, and Joseph Jr., lived at 804 South 3rd Street.

Frank Italiano grew up in Camden and attended law school. By 1956 he had set up a law practice at 328 Market Street. He made his home at 521 Pine Street, and was still residing at that address as late as the fall of 1970.

A Republican in a city by then already firmly in the grasp of the Democratic party, by 1960 Frank Italiano had been elected to Camden's City Commission.

Former Camden County Commissioner Tom Madden wrote of Frank Italiano in April of 2011:

There has never been a Republican in any major city with his record. From City Commissioner to State Senator, he never lost a single election, even when times were bad for his national/state party. Frank was really an Independent without identifying himself as such. He went on to become a Superior Court Judge and the word was that he would soon be drafted to run for Governor (again, no urban Republican could ever come close to his record).  He passed at age 49, dashing such dreams.

Now, I and my family were never Republican, but we supported individuals like Frank, and I really supported him. The next thing you know, I was absolutely floored to my soul when he asked me, at a young age, to serve as his Chief of Staff/Legislative Aide. This was one of the highlights of my life to serve with this kindly, super-intelligent and incisive man. What an education!. The debates on upcoming bills on our rides to Trenton alone were beyond any college education. He was the total opposite of the greed and self-serving sliminess of most politicians. You would not believe the number of poor people who came into our office with their tales of woe who he represented for nothing.

Frank deserves major recognition for not only his popularity, but mainly the reasons for it: things like ethics, morality, giving and the like in a city and world in which those things prevent most people from holding office, and that’s another thing, when Frank was given his first nomination to run for the Senate, he was thrown to the wolves in a totally ‘unwinnable’ district. He obviously astounded his party leaders and thus became even more independent.

Frank Italiano was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 1967, in an upset victory over the heavily-favored Alfred R. Pierce. As close to the election as October 23 he was given little chance to defeat Pierce. He was the last Republican from the City of Camden to be elected to the State legislature. Nominated for a judgeship, he chose not to run for re-election. In June of 1973 Frank Italiano was appointed judge of District Court in Camden County.

Tom Madden wrote the following in May of 2011:

"Frank’s love of Camden seemed to know no bounds. During the tragic and terrifying riots of 1969 and 1971, Senator Italiano took his life in his hands and was the only known white office-holder to take to the streets and work to alleviate the rage and frustration that precipitated the furious violence and arson that enflamed the city. He enlisted and rode shotgun with none other than his good friend, former heavyweight world champion Jersey Joe Walcott."

Democrat John Horn defeated Camden County Republican chairman Dick Hardenbergh in the November 1973 election for Judge Italiano's former seat. Hardenbergh was defeated by a a margin of almost 2-1, which speaks volumes as to the extent of Frank Italiano's popularity in an otherwise hostile district.

Frank Italiano passed away on December 28, 1975.



Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960

Pierce 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.

Cheers, Boos

The 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

At the close of the meeting a Courier-Post reporter asked Commissioner Italiano why he had I voted to strip Mayor Pierce.

"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.

Contacted Again

Again, this morning, a reporter contacted Italiano and asked him if he would explain his vote. He replied:

"No comment."

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."

 Solicitor Quits

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."

The 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. 


Camden Courier-Post - 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
Quits Post

CITY COUNSEL Michael J. Piarulli makes speech of resignation at meeting of city commission.

Meeting is Conducted Orderly
b
y Mayor  Despite Difficulties
Greeted by 500 Amid Applause And Cat-Calls

Mayor Pierce was determined to run an orderly meeting and he did Thursday night when his fellow commissioners stripped him of his duties as public safety director.

When Pierce entered the commission chambers, bulging at the seams by an overflow crowd of more than 500, he was greeted by a mixture of applause and cat­calls. When it became evident that he was faced with difficulties in maintaining order, Pierce sharply rapped the gavel and told the crowd:

"I ask you to give every commissioner the opportunity to conduct the business of this meeting.

"I know there are a lot of police officers here. I want them to exercise their judgment and see that this meeting is orderly." Rumor Spreads

The crowds started gathering early for the meeting with many police officers who had been assigned to the protection  

of Vice President Nixon in the commission chambers. At 7.40 p. m. the chambers were half-filled as rumors spread throughout the city of an impending change in the structure of the city commison.

Among the early arrivals were Thomas Watson, register of deeds, and his deputy, J. James Hainsworth.

Commissioners Abbott and Shepp entered the chambers about 7:50 p. m. with Commissioners Italiano and Garrity coming in about 7:59 p. m. Pierce did not come in until 8.05 p. m. leading to conjecture in the crowd as to whether or not he was going to show up.

Mixed Reaction

Each time Pierce cast a no vote on the realignment of responsibilities for the various commissioners, there was a mixture of cheers and booing.

On the vote concerning the change of duties of the department of public safety Pierce inadvertently cast a yes vote. He quickly corrected himself after briefly laughing.

"It's easy to be preoccupied by what's going on here tonight," he, said.

Following the action which made him director of public affairs, Pierce again was forced to call for order. He interrupted Michael J. Piarulli, city counsel, in the midst of his speech of resignation when the crowd became too noisy.

"If I have to call police officers in I'll do so," Pierce said. "I'm not police commissioner now, but if anyone wants to try, me, let them do so."

Pierce asked the policemen in the audience to stand up. He asked their aid in maintaining order and asked that they put out of the meeting any noisy or disorderly person.


Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960

Commission Department Assignments

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.


Trenton Evening Times - July 29, 1960

Alfred Pierce - Edward Garrity - Frank Italiano - William Shepp - Frank Abbott - Gustave Koerner 

Trenton Evening Times - March 5, 1961

Alfred R. Pierce - Thomas M. Madden - Leo P. Italiano - Frank Italiano Anthony J. Passarella - Albert Buck - William Lacava 
Dominick Padulla

Trenton Evening Times - January 10, 1969


Trenton Evening Times - February 29, 1968


Trenton Evening Times - February 29, 1968

Otts Hulleberg - Frank Italiano - Stanley Dancer 

Trenton Evening Times - March 15, 1968

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Trenton Evening Times - July 19, 1968

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Trenton Evening Times
March 20, 1970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trenton Evening Times - January 10, 1972

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Trenton Evening Times - June 19, 1973

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