ROSELLE, NJ — Sitting at her desk and reading from a prepared speech, Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau made a surprising video announcement to the public on Tuesday, June 23. After 14 years of service to the borough of Roselle, Dansereau retired from the position of mayor; her last day was June 30.
Dansereau, who has been Roselle’s mayor since March 2015, has cemented her place in Roselle’s history as the borough’s first female mayor. Dansereau said she is stepping down due to health issues.
Council President Denise Wilkerson will assume the borough mayoral duties until the Roselle Democratic Committee presents the council with the names of three people who could fill the vacancy. The council will then vote and select one of those candidates, who will serve as mayor until the November election, when residents vote for a new mayor.
Dansereau herself first became mayor in 2015 when then Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley stepped down to join the state Assembly.
“It’s never an easy decision to leave a job you love and dedicated your adult career to, while balancing health choices,” Holley tweeted June 23, noting Dansereau’s retirement with “great sadness. … I wish Mayor Dansereau and her family well.”
Serving as the 5th Ward councilwoman for two terms, then being elected as councilwoman at large prior to becoming mayor, Dansereau also served as Council president and was chairperson of many standing committees throughout her term in office, according to a recent media release.
According to the media release, work attributed to Dansereau includes the Westbrook Remediation Flood Project, the Road Assessment Improvement Program, the Secure our Schools Camera Safety Project, the Junior Police Academy Program, the Mayor’s Office of Hispanic Latino Affairs, the Municipal ID Program, the Landlord Registration Project, the Redevelopment Citizen Committee for Improving Chestnut Street and the Library Expansion Project.
“It is with great and a sad heart that I have to step down as your mayor due to personal health issues,” Dansereau said during her announcement. “Anyone who knows me understands if I can’t give a hundred percent to something I am committed to, then I have to step aside to allow someone else to do so. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this beautiful community of ours for over 14 years. I have had a constant love affair with Roselle since I moved here in 1985. Roselle will always be special to me, but not just because of its small-town beauty, but because of all of you.”
Dansereau emphasized the town’s resilience and heart, shown during ups and downs.
“We have been through some good and bad times together,” Dansereau said. “We have weathered through snowstorms, hurricanes, recessions, ransomware attacks, celebrations, graduations, weddings, funerals, parades and now this COVID-19 pandemic. We may be a small town in size, but we are a big town in courage and heart. We have shared tears and laughter. We have won elections,we have lost elections and we are still standing. Like a typical family, we get angry at each other at times and have opposing views. Sometimes we have been unkind to one another regrettably so, but it’s never too late to mend fences.”
Despite the bad, Dansereau believes the township will thrive.
“I don’t know how to begin to thank all of you for your trust and allowing me to be a part of your lives in this incredible way,” Dansereau said. “I am at peace with the knowledge that you have chosen representatives that will continue to work hard for you and our community and will continue to do so after I step down as your mayor. Your voices will continue to be heard and our town will not only survive, it will thrive.
“Roselle will get through these difficult times as long as we continue to support each other. Change can feel strange and backward at times, but it frequently brings with it amazing life experiences if we embrace it.”
With that being said, Dansereau is grateful to have been a part of the lives of Roselle’s residents while serving the town.
“I will miss my colleagues, my community and all of you,” she said. “I leave this part of my life journey richer for having been a part of yours. Thank you and God bless us all.”
Shortly after Dansereau announced her retirement, Roselle Council members released a joint statement thanking Dansereau for her years of service and wishing her well.
“It is with great sadness that we collectively acknowledge Mayor Christine Dansereau’s unexpected resignation. We unselfishly understand that her health must come first,” the statement read. “We will certainly miss Mayor Dansereau on the dais, and we are proud of the legacy that she leaves behind. Since her first days on council and throughout her time as mayor, she has worked tirelessly for all residents of Roselle. She helped steer a course for the borough that brought professionalism back to government, honesty to representation and transparency in policy. As the first woman to serve as mayor, she broke barriers every day, and Roselle is a better place because of it. She celebrated Roselle’s diversity, and her genuine love for our borough was always prominently on display.
“We are grateful that she has pledged to continuously support our efforts to move Roselle forward,” the statement continued. “We wish Mayor Dansereau the best and will continue to pray for her health.”