Antonia "Toni" Ricigliano officially began her tenure as Edison's first female mayor yesterday with a vow. “As the first woman chief executive, there are opportunities and challenges ahead, but I am up to the task,” the Democrat told the crowd after being sworn in by her son, Joseph Ricigliano Jr., an Edison-based attorney.
“Woman in the United States traditionally get paid less, so I am going to take less money in my role as Mayor,” declared Mayor Antonia "Toni" Ricigliano of Edison. “It is the right thing to do in tough economic times.”
The 71-year-old former town councilwoman announced she's cutting the mayor's salary by $26,000.
She cited a study done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research done on “The Gender Wage Gap: 2008”. “The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings in 2008 was 77.1 for full-time, year-round workers, down from 77.8 in 2007. This means the gender wage gap is now 22.9 percent,” declared Mayor Ricigliano. “It’s the only fair thing to do.”
Also in the crowd was Ricigliano’s predecessor, Jun Choi. Ricigliano shocked the town in June when she ousted Choi -- the youngest and first Asian-American mayor in Edison history -- in the Democratic primary.
Choi said that there was nothing to the rumor that he lost because of his refusal to add a “nickname in quotes or in (parentheses)” to his official title as mayor. An unnamed Democratic consultant who asked to remain anonymous said that a “ ‘nickname in quotes or in parentheses’ makes the political figure seem more accessible to the average ‘Jersey Joe ‘or ‘Jersey Jane’ in the state. Look at the success of former Assembly Speaker Garabed ‘Chuck’ Haytaian.”
It was suggested that former Mayor Jun Choi add “Skippy” or “Education-Boy” to make the former senior official with the New Jersey Department of Education seem more user-friendly to Edison residents.
Now, Mayor Ricigliano plans to visit a place she’s never even seen before: the mayor's office. "I'll see it Monday morning," she said with a smile.