David L. Ganz
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|Born||David L. Ganz
July 28, 1951
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Georgetown University
St. John's University School of Law
|Website||Bergen County Freeholders|
David L. Ganz (born July 28, 1951, New York City) is an American attorney, author, and Democratic Party politician. He has served on the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders since 2003 and was Freeholder vice-chairman through the 2006 term. He served as chairman pro tempore in 2010, budget chair from 2003-2010, and board chairman in 2013.
A lawyer, an author of more than 35 books and scholarly journal book-length articles on a variety of subjects, a bi-lingual researcher, and a member or former long-term member of the board of directors of national hobby organizations, Ganz has made a plethora of contributions to society in a variety of fields. He has also held two presidential appointments. In 1974, he was appointed to the Annual Assay Commission by President Richard Nixon. In 1993, he was a Clinton Administration Appointment to the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (1993-1996),a group authorized by Congress in Public Law 102-390, Part II. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and St. John's University.
Now in his fourth three-year term as a Bergen County freeholder, he also served seven consecutive one-year terms as the 19th Mayor of the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey (the 4th largest municipality in Bergen County, Ganz was not re-elected in 2005 to the Fair Lawn Borough Council) through 2005. Ganz has testified before the House Financial Services Committee, Senate Banking Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and various subcommittees of the House Banking committee on more than a dozen occasions since 1974, and has an active legal practice.
Ganz started collecting coins in 1960 after he found a 1906 Indian head cent in pocket change. Fascinated by the different design, he went to Rockville Centre, N.Y. Public Library and read every book on the subject. By 1965, at age 14, he was writing a monthly column “Under the Glass” for the Coin Shopper.
In the summer of 1965, he participated as an international exchange student in Mexico, staying at the home of Ing Emilio Suberbie de Mendiola, who arranged for a visit to the Casa de Moneda de Mexico, the oldest mint in the Western Hemisphere. He returned to Mexico the following summer, staying at the household of Lic. Carlos de Ovando in Mexico City. He returned speaking Spanish bilingually, an ability he used later in his professional life.
In 1965 he self-published “A Beginner’s Guide to Better Coins”, which he copyrighted and sold for $.25. Later, he wrote an article about visiting The Mexican Mint which was published in The Coin Collector, of Anamosa, Iowa in its February 1967 issue. The same year he joined the American Numismatic Association (ANA) as a junior member 59168, just eight numbers after Mark O. Hatfield became a member.
In his senior year at South Side Senior High School in Rockville Centre, he started writing a monthly column called “Under the Glass” in The Coin Collector. He was one of five yearbook editors and wrote for the student edited Sportsman newspaper. As he moved off to college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he became a “stringer” for Numismatic News Weekly, and their Washington Correspondent. He majored in international affairs at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service-the equivalent of a triple major in economics, history and government. While there, he participated in the Conference on the Atlantic Community (CONTACT), a student-run international conference; he came back after graduation in 1975 to serve as a moderator of the conference, preparing a published paper on “Multinational Corporations: Modern Trojan horse?” which was published in D. Ganz, “Multinationals: Modern Trojan Horse” in January 31, 1975. [4 J. of Invest. Fin. 6]. He was vice president of the campus Young Democrats.
In addition to his normal academic workload, Ganz undertook an eight credit independent study project examining African literature. He later turned in a 503-page thesis for the project; one of the appendices was published in 1973 by the African Studies Association: “A Critical Guide to Anthologies of African Literature”. More than 40 years after it was published, it is still in more than 100 academic libraries as the standard work critiquing sub-Saharan pre-1973 African literature. (A second revised edition appeared in 2010 after e-bay versions were being offered at more than $100).
During his Georgetown years, he became active as an American Numismatic Association (ANA) member, obtaining appointments to a number of organizational committees and being named editor of “The Young Numismatist”, which he wrote and edited from 1971-1974. Among the committees of service: in 1970, he served as Chair of young numismatist functions at ANA convention (St. Louis); the following year, 1971, he co-chaired young numismatist functions at ANA Convention (Washington, D.C.), using connections with former mint director Eva B. Adams to arrange lunch at the U.S. Supreme Court as a guest of retired justice Tom Clark. Then, he used his own connections with director Jim Conlon to obtain a floor tour of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing.
In 1972, he was named chair at age 21 of young numismatist functions at the ANA convention (New Orleans). In 1973, he was appointed chair of local and national publicity for the ANA convention (Boston). He did the same thing in Miami (1974), Los Angeles(1975), and New York (1976). In 1974, he chaired local and national publicity for the ANA convention (Miami).
He would be involved in ANA service throughout his adult life, culminating with 20 years as legislative counsel, 10 years as a member of the board of governors (directors) and finally his election as 48th president of the association for a two-year term from 1993 to 1995.
Having learned Spanish during his two summers in Mexico, he did academic research on the law of these for Georgetown University Professor William V. O’Brien. The work, which was preparatory to the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, focused on translation difficulties between Spanish and English for two words that both mean “sovereignty”: soberania and domino. [Acknowledged in W. O’Brien & A. Chappelli, “The law of the sea in the ‘Canadian’ Arctic: The Pattern of Controversy” 19 McGill Law Journal 322 (footnote) (1973)]. After he finished law school, he returned to this for a major academic work.
Throughout his four years in Washington, he filed weekly reports covering Capitol Hill, the federal agencies that affected numismatics, and wrote his column “Under the Glass”. In 1973, he became the youngest person ever admitted to membership in the Periodical Press Gallery of the United States Senate. [Congressional Staff Directory, 93rd Cong. 2nd Sess. (1974)]. He served as Washington Correspondent for the Numismatic News from 1969-1973, when he moved to Wisconsin and became assistant editor of Numismatic News.
His two years as ANA president (1993-1995) were eventful. Congress passed a law making the then-ANA president (Ganz) a member of the design panel for coin designs for the 1996 Olympic Games at Atlanta, then went on to create the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, to which Ganz was a first-pick appointee. From there, he launched a crusade for circulating commemorative coins.
Philip Diehl, who served as a statutory member of the Citizens Advisory Committee in his capacity as U.S. Mint director, offered this analysis and view as to how the state quarter program happened.
“The idea of a circulating commemorative has been around the hobby for decades, but frankly, good ideas are a dime a dozen. Far more rare is the ability to move an idea to reality, especially in the rough and tumble environment of Washington D.C. From my vantage point, the lion’s share of the credit for making the 50 States program a reality goes to David Ganz, for is persistence as an advocate, and Congressman Michael Castle for championing the proposal through Congress. David gradually persuaded me of the merits of the proposal, and we at the Mint, in turn, convinced Treasury and the Hill that it was doable. There are other claimants, to be sure, but the hobby owes a debt of gratitude to Congressman Castle and Mr. Ganz.”
More recently, then Mint director Jay Johnson referred to Ganz as the “father of the 50 state quarter program”. The program has returned over $5 billion to the American taxpayer since its inception which has been used to lower the interest paid on the national debt. He was quoted most recently on the state quarter program in the Wall Street Journal of December 29, 2003, page 1 (above the fold).
Law School & Law Practice
In December 1973, he received a job offer to work as a special studies officer for the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and admission to the Class of 1976 in an accelerated 2 ½ year program at St. John’s University.
Choosing law school, he would also spend the summer of his second year studying international law at Temple University Law School in Rome while working part-time for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. After graduating from St. John’s University School of Law in June 1976, one of the jobs he maintained over the following 25 years was a consultant for FAO, and for several years, special litigation counsel in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Vermont [In re International Coin & Currency, Inc., 22 B.R. 121 (Bankr.D.Vt.1982)] where he used his skills to help successfully rehabilitate the largest chapter 7 reorganization to that point in time in the State of Vermont.
In recognition of his achievements as a columnist for Numismatic News, Coins Magazine and COINage Magazine (where in 1974 and he would log over 300 published articles), and as an ANA member, Ganz was appointed by President Richard Nixon in February 1974to the Annual Assay Competition, one of the oldest commissions in movement, authorized originally by the Mint Act of April 2, 1792 (1 Stat. 246). He served on February 12, 1974 [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Feb, 1974], just after starting law school. A month later, on March 27, 1974, he submitted Congressional testimony for the first time, to the Consumer Affairs Committee of the House Banking Committee.
While in law school, Ganz took a “junior year” (actually a junior summer in Rome at Temple University Law School, the first time that St. John’s University Law School had ever entertained participation in such a program. He graduated in May, 1976 and took the New York bar exam in the summer of 1976, passed, and was admitted. In 1997-1980, he was admitted in Washington, D.C. and in 1985, in New Jersey.
In his second year of law school, it was apparent that the nation’s coinage was about to undergo a design change for the bicentennial. Ganz had watched most of it happen, covering the coins and medals advisory panel of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. He had written to the editor of “The Numismatist”, Edward C. Rochette, to ask if there was an interest in publishing “a revision of ‘The Story of How the U.S. Got Its Bicentennial Coins” for inclusion in “The Numismatist” the ANA’s monthly periodical; Rochette said “yes”.
The resulting article, one of the longest to ever run in The Numismatist, took four months (March - June1975), more than 70 pages of text including 537 footnotes. In succeeding years, Ganz would write over 1,000 pages for “The Numismatist” magazine, representing one of its most prolific authors.
By 1977, the article, with an appendix of official documents, was turned into a book by Three Continents Press (3CP) of Washington, D.C. Three Continents Press, which mostly specialized in third world literature, always looked on publishing efforts of its shareholders with kind eyes, and when the two primary shareholders came looking for a third, Ganz bought 10 percent of the company for $1,000 (“a lo tof money to me in those days, for I lived in a house in Arlington where my share of the rent was $52.50 a month, utilities included”). Ultimately, 3CPwould publish a Nobel Laureate before his time (Mafouz) and more than 300 books of literary criticism, original African literature, and one book on the legislative process: how a coin bill became Public Law 93-127 in 1973.
While in law school, Ganz took a course in international law and was assigned a 10-page paper by the course professor, Judge Edward D. Re of the U.S. Court of International Trade. Originally entitled “Law of the Sea”, the paper grew in size until it was focused on the then-ongoing Third U.N. Conference.
Pioneering research using press releases issued at the United Nations, Ganz produced a paper of over 50,000 words (and hundreds of densely written footnotes) which he submitted to the British Institute for International & Comparative Law; they published it in the 1977 edition of “international & Comparative Law Quarterly”, which published it as its lead article for volume 26 in 1977.
That same year, he completed another major publication-“Toward a Revision of the Minting & Coinage Laws of the United States”, published in 26 Cleveland State Law Review 175-257 (1977). It represents the only law review in the 20th century covering coinage law; many of its individual recommendations- there is a model law at its end in an appendix- have become law in the succeeding 36 years since publication.
In 1978, Ganz became legislative counsel to the American Numismatic Association, a post he held until he relinquished the presidency in 1995. In that capacity, he prepared and offered congressional testimony, and on one or more occasions filed an amicus curae brief on topics relating to the rare coin field before the New York State Court of Appeals and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. His law practice had become national in scope, and before long, he was one of the first people to achieve a Martingale-Hubbell “a-v” rating (highest) before his 40th birthday.
He continued writing on a variety of topics-something that he does to this very day. Some of the books include The World of Coins & Coin Collecting (first published in 1980, 3rd revised edition, 1998), Planning Your Rare Coin Retirement (Bonus Books, 1998), The 90 Second Lawyer (Wiley, 1996) (www.wiley.com), The 90 Second Lawyer Guide to Buying Real Estate (Wiley, 1997), How to Get an Instant Mortgage (Wiley, 1997), The Official Guide to Commemorative Coins (Bonus, 1999), and The Official Guidebook to America’s State Quarters, a Random House Fall 2000 mass market paperback that has gone through a revised edition. A completely revised 2nd edition came out in October 2008. Other recent books include The Smithsonian Guide to Coin Collecting (Harper Collins, April 2008) and Profitable Coin Collecting (Krause Publications, July 2008).
Parallel tracking his writing was his public service. He served as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment for Fair Lawn, N.J., appointed by the Mayor and Council from 1988-1997, and as Chairman of the Zoning Board from 1993-1996 for an unprecedented four consecutive terms. In 1997, he was elected to a four-year term on the Borough Council (1998-2001). During that time he wrote the first Public Advocate Ordinance, designed to provide representation for consumers, homeowners and tenants before the planning and zoning boards and worked hard to restore the Borough infrastructure.
He became Fair Lawn’s 29th Mayor in January, 1999 and was re-elected to successive one year terms. He successfully ran for re-election to the council in 2001, but was defeated when he sought a third term, leaving office on January 3, 2006 as the first person in more than 35 years to serve for more than five years as Mayor.
In 2002, he became Attorney to the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Borough of Paramus and served until his installation as Freeholder in January 2003. He served as the Rent Leveling Board attorney for the City of Hoboken in Hudson County in 2005-2006. He has since written definitive legal book-size publications covering those fields “Valuation of Coin Collection”, 5 Proof of Facts 3rd 577-655(1989), and the recently published “Proof of Value of Coin Collection”, 95 Proof of Facts 3d 155-456 (2007), and Wrongful Death in Claims Against Emergency Service Workers, 101 Proof of Facts 3d 1-281 (2008). A definitive Proof of Facts for Am. Jur (Thompson West) was published in 1009 on Rent Control, and in 2010 on zoning law.
Other works include “Legal Ethics: When a Lawyer’s Obligation Begins (and Ends)”,125 N.J. Law J. 1742 (June 28, 1990), reprinted in Lawyer’s Liability Rev. Q.J. 3-6 (April, 1991), and an interesting newspaper article, “Drop dollar bills; we need $1 coins”, USA Today, May 23, 1990, p. 10A (Guest Columnist, “Face-Off”). He previously edited a book on America’s Coinage Laws (1792-1894) (Bowers & Merena, 191).
Between 2006 and 2013, he was particularly prolific, writing book length works on a number of legal topics that Thompson West published as part of its American Jurisprudence series: Civil Rights Law, Small Claims Court defenser, Zoning, Guardianships, Partition, Personal Injury Claims against Municipalities, and other topics.
In addition, Ganz has testified before the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs and other subcommittees of the House Banking committee on more than a dozen occasions since 1974, and has an active legal practice. [See hearings for which testimony was heard include Proposal to Authorize a Change in the Composition of the One Cent Coin: Hearings on H.R. 11841 Before the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess (1974); See National Bicentennial Medal, Hearings on H.R.J. Res 386 Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 95th Cong., 1stSess (1977); See also Joint Resolution to Provide for the Striking of a National Medal to be issued Annually in Commemoration of the Bicentennial: Hearings on J.R.J. Res. 386 Before the Subcomm. On Historic Preservation and Coinage of the House Comm. On Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. (1977) [hereinafter cited as 1977 Capitol Historical Society Medals Hearings]: Oversight Hearing on National Medals: Hearings before the Subcomm. On Historic Preservation and Coinage of the House Comm. On Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs, 95th Cong., 1stSess. (1977); Commemorative Medals and Bicentennial Coinage; Hearings before the Subcomm. On Historic Preservation and Coinage of the House Comm. On Banking, Currency and Housing, 94th Cong., 1st Sess (1975). Treasury Sales of U.S> Gold and the American Arts Gold Medallion Act of 1978: Testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Finance & Urban Affairs Committee on Gold and Silver Coinage, April 15, 1983;] He participated in the Senate Banking Committee’s discussion on coin designs in September 2001 [Coin Design Symposium Held by the Committee on Banking; Housing and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, Sept 2001]
Freeholder is one of the oldest positions in County Government, anywhere in the United States. For more than 320 years, the people of Bergen County, N.J., have selected their governing body, which today is a seven-person legislature that runs at large in a county with a population (905,000) that is larger than five U.S. states. Almost from the first, Ganz viewed the position of freeholder differently than many of his predecessors; frequently, he drafted his own ordinances and resolutions, instead of waiting for it to be prepared by the county counsel of the Administration. While he is directly responsible for more than 60 key pieces of legislation that were initiated on his watch, he identified for a local newspaper what he viewed as his five greatest accomplishments as a freeholder:·
- Wrote first comprehensive County ethics ordinance requiring full disclosure of all campaign contributions to all constitutional officers and freeholders; banned nepotism in hiring; eliminated golden parachutes for departing elected officials.
- Initiated prescription drug discount program and saver program resulting in thousands of Bergen County residents receiving over $14,000,000 worth of drug savings on tens of thousands of prescriptions filled; saver program offers discounts at over 1,100 businesses in county, free to County residents.
- County security preparedness; initiated reverse 911 telephone notification system, county-wide.
- Wrote first public advocate for land use ordinance in any County to allow affected citizen groups representation on land-use matters.
- Developed and initiated Bergen Munibanc to take advantage of off the shelf financing using county’s AAA credit rating by municipalities for taxpayer savings
He served as vice chair for two years (2005-2006), in 2010 was Chairman pro tempore, then became minority leader for two years, and in 2013 was elected Chairman of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. In 2013, in his 11th year of service, he became the longest serving Democratic freeholder in the 300-year history of the Freeholder Board.
Ganz served his home community of Fair Lawn, NJ., as an appointed member of the zoning board of adjustment for 10 years, then was elected a councilman (1998), and the following year became Mayor (elected by the council, not by direct election).
Funding Social Programs and Libraries
From 2010-2011, Ganz along with Freeholder Dr. Joan Voss, was in the minority (5:2 Republican). Nonetheless, he was asked to continue to serve on the budget committee, where he fought Administration proposals to defund the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), which circulated over nine million books in the past year among some 70 communities who have banded together to promote the program. Mental health needs, which the Administration attempted to cut across the board, had significant restoration based on Ganz’s leadership role.
Politics of Agreement
Ganz became Chairman of the Freeholder board on January 2, 2013, elected unanimously by a divided (4:3) freeholder board. The inaugural remarks made it clear that this was not going to be politics as usual because the newly installed chairman saw that the model was “broken” and needed to be fixed:
“I want to make clear that a new day is dawning on Bergen County-one where we work together with the County Executive as equals, we need to work together and we need to focus on the Politics of Agreement,”
To try and change that culture of partisanship, and to promote a more bipartisan coalition, Ganz announced, “I have today named former chair John Mitchell (R- Cliffside Park) to our agenda committee- it’s the first time that two parties will be part of the committee that decides what we will do at each meeting- and I have also today nominated John Felice, also of the other party, to be the Chairman Pro-Tempore of our board... I am reaching across the aisle to try and make a Politics of Agreement something that keeps taxes low, the quality of service high, and gives us the ability to look at old ideas with a fresh view. Let’s see where the Politics of Agreement takes us…watch us soar!”
Six months later, the 2013 County budget was passed unanimously by a coalition of Democratic and Republican Freeholders. This evidenced the avoidance of partisan gridlock.