Newly elected Hamburg councilwoman starts learning on the run

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:55

    HAMBURG-After winning a three-year term in November, Joyce Oehler began her first attempt at public office as a member of the Hamburg Town Council. "I didn't understand some of the things that were happening in town," said Oehler. "I decided instead of the usual ‘should have done this or should have done that,' it's better to be on the Committee." Although she and husband, Bill, have always been "involved in town," Oehler believes she has some ideas to offer her hometown. Being on the council is an opportunity to be "able to voice your opinion," more than as an ordinary citizen, she said. One of the issues Oehler's often heard discussed is "why are taxes so high." Now, she'll be able to give reasons, she said. Oehler has been assigned by Mayor Paul Marino to be liaison to Office of Emergency Management and Planning Board. She is a second Lt. on the Hamburg Fire Department Ambulance squad and considers preparedness essential to safety. One issue she will be investigating is a generator back-up for the traffic light at routes 94 and 23, because she believes an electrical blackout could produce a serious danger. Oehler will look to her husband, a former member of the Planning Board, for guidance and instruction. She also said she has the support of other board members. The Oehlers are the parents of two girls, Melissa, a 16-year-old junior at Walkill Valley High School; and Sarah, 13, an eighth-grader at Hamburg Public School. Before running for office, Oehler discussed her intentions with her family and, although the girls were aware that it would most likely involve time away, she had their support. "When we received the call that I had won, they said, ‘Cool, mom,' " Melissa Oehler will be attending some meetings with her mother as a class assignment. Oehler is president of the Fire Department Auxiliary and active in the Sussex United Methodist Church, where she has chaired many fund-raisers. She is part-owner/operator of the Ringwood Deli, in Passaic County.