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Allen Sklar

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Allen Sklar Obituary
Former freeholder,

councilman made

ethics his priority

Allen Sklar, a Paramus Democrat who emphasized ethics during a political career at the borough and county levels, died Wednesday.

He was 78 and had been in declining health for about a year, his family said.

Mr. Sklar, who worked as a teacher and administrator in the New York City public schools, had two stints on the Paramus Borough Council that bookended one term on the Bergen County Board of Freeholders. He served on the last Freeholder Board before the introduction of the county executive position.

As a county official, Mr. Sklar styled himself a watchdog over government operations. He was the freeholders' liaison to the county's Community Development Block Grant Program, and was credited with revitalizing it.

Mr. Sklar lost his reelection bid in the GOP landslide of 1986 but staged a political comeback by winning election to the Paramus Council the following |year. He had served on the borough's governing body in the 1970s.

One of Mr. Sklar's key initiatives during his later council term was an ethics ordinance designed to prevent local officials and employees from benefiting from those doing business with the borough.

Ethics, social justice and good government were paramount to Mr. Sklar, said his friend Paul Contillo, a former Democratic state senator, assemblyman and Paramus councilman. Contillo and Mr. Sklar served on the Paramus Council at different times.

"The first time I heard him speak, at a Paramus Democratic Club meeting, I thought, 'This guy is terrific,'x" said Contillo, who described Mr. Sklar as forceful.

While in the state Senate, Contillo employed Mr. Sklar as an aide, "and he taught me a lot of stuff," such as how to write a news release, Contillo said.

Allen Sklar grew up in Englewood and graduated from Dwight Morrow High School and Brandeis University. He received a master's degree in teaching from Columbia University.

"He loved the Democratic Party," his wife, Ellen, said. "He was a liberal and proud of it."

Mr. Sklar was long out of politics in 2008 when a former Democratic colleague on the Paramus Council, state Sen. Joseph Coniglio, was charged with trading his influence as a lawmaker for a lucrative hospital consulting job.

"I don't like to kick someone when they're down, but I don't find myself being a Coniglio supporter anymore," Mr. Sklar told The Record.

"Everything seems to be money now, rather than public service," he added.

Mr. Sklar is survived by his wife of 50 years, his sons, Edward of Berkeley, Calif., Adam of Ridgewood and Ethan of Manhattan, and five grandsons.

Services will be held this morning fri at 11:30 at Robert Schoem's Menorah Chapel, Paramus.

Email: [email protected]
Published in The Record on Feb. 1, 2013
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