Retiring Surf City Employees Honored By Council

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 18, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Surf City — Bittersweet. That’s the word Surf City Administrator Mary Madonna used to describe her retirement.

“It’s bittersweet because after 41 years I still love what I do,” she said earlier this week. “We are one big family here, and I still love my ‘other’ family.”

Madonna, who postponed her retirement twice, began her career in local government in 1978 as a reception clerk in Ship Bottom before being appointed the borough clerk and registrar in Surf City in 1988. She was named borough administrator in 1999.

“I paid attention and learned from some of the best” people, she said of a career that has spanned four decades on an Island where she has lived since the age of 11. “I learned and learned and learned. I continue to learn because every day something different, something that has never happened before, happens. That’s what makes it fun and exciting.”

On Sept. 11, the final meeting before Madonna’s last day later this month, the Surf City Borough Council honored her with a resolution and a cake. The resolution, in part, notes Madonna’s recognition as a master municipal clerk, and an instructor for the Rutgers Center of Government Services for more than 17 years.

“Mary remains a great resource to many of the licensed clerks throughout the state of New Jersey,” the resolution reads. “And whereas, in the land of many hats, Mary has worn almost all of them. Some of them include: qualified purchasing agent, ADA coordinator, CRS and Supplemental Fire Services coordinator, the Emergency Management coordinator, secretary to the board of health and zoning official.”

Wearing all of those hats, Madonna said, is why all the municipal clerks on Long Beach Island stand out as some of the best in the state.

“We do it all. We’re not in an office with a staff, delegating,” she said.

The resolution, which Mayor Francis Hodgson pushed off until the end of the meeting, also cited Madonna as a valued member of the Ocean County Clerk’s Association, Municipal Clerk’s Association and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.

“It’s a sad day,” Hodgson said, calling Madonna a true professional who taught everyone to treat each other as they would want their loved ones to be treated. “She took all the hits (for us). We appreciate all you do.”

Councilman James Russell, who credits Madonna for his decision to run for a seat on the governing body 14 years ago, said it has been an honor to work with her.

“You answered every question; solved every problem. We truly love you,” he said.

“If there was a problem that couldn’t be solved, you helped us realize that it wasn’t really a problem,” Councilman Peter Hartney added.

Councilwoman Jacqueline Siciliano called Madonna invaluable.

“Everything she does she does very well,” Siciliano said. “It’s been a privilege to work with her.”

Siciliano also offered a thank-you to Tom Hudson, borough superintendent of public works, who also is retiring.

“As chairwoman of the roads department,” she said, “I’ve always looked to Tom. There are no finer people.”

Hudson, too, was honored with a resolution at the Sept. 11 council meeting.

“Whereas, after 27 years of dedicated service to the Borough of Surf City, Tom is retiring to spend time with his family; and now therefore, be it resolved, Mayor Hodgson, the members of the Borough Council, all of the Borough employees and friends would like to extend to Tom, best wishes for a healthy and happy retirement; and be it further resolved that the Mayor and Council would also like to extend their gratitude to Tom’s wife Cindy and his two sons, Sam and Jack, for their support and understanding of the time Tom spent answering the myriad of after-hours calls. Tom, you will be missed.”

— Gina G. Scala

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