Ship Bottom Honors Outgoing Municipal Clerk

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 11, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill Ship Bottom Municipal Clerk Kathleen Wells

Ship Bottom — When the Ship Bottom Borough Council reconvenes for its regular meeting later this month, it will be without longtime Municipal Clerk Kathleen Wells taking roll call and ensuring an easy flow to the handling of town business.

Wells, whose duties have included acting municipal clerk, municipal clerk, registrar, celebrations coordinator and most recently borough manager, has tendered her resignation with Sept. 17 as her final day.

“It’s been a journey and a pleasure,” Wells said earlier this week.

Her resignation was met with regret from town officials at the borough council’s last meeting of summer Aug. 27.

“You are going to be missed,” Council President Edward English told Wells before he voted to accept her letter of resignation.

Councilman Joe Valyo said he was reluctant to say yes and accept her resignation.

“I am going to miss you in more ways than you know,” he said.

Mayor William Huelsenbeck surprised Wells with a resolution outlining just some of her achievements since taking over the role of municipal clerk more than 15 years ago.

Resolution 2019-126 was signed by the mayor and Wells’ deputy clerk, Sara Gresko.

“Kathleen Wells was instrumental in obtaining easement agreements from oceanfront homeowners after Superstorm Sandy necessary for the success of the beach replenishment program and worked tirelessly with the Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection until its completion,” the resolution read in part.

It goes on to cite Wells for her “uncommon degree of public spiritedness” demonstrated by her volunteering and contributing to community activities such as the Annual Christmas Parade and various concert programs and events held in the borough.

“She has given generously of her time and energy and within the spheres of her life and work, Kathleen Wells has established a model to emulate and set a standard of excellence toward which others might strive,” the resolution read. “Now, therefore be it resolved … that the governing body does hereby honor and congratulate Kathleen Wells and commends her meritorious record of service and commitment and extends best wishes for continued success in all her endeavors.”

The proclamation also noted Wells is an esteemed member of the Municipal Clerks’ Association of New Jersey and the Ocean County Municipal Clerks’ Association where she served as treasurer and vice president, also served on the Education Committee, and is widely recognized for her knowledge and experience in the operation of the Office of the Municipal Clerk.

Wells received a standing ovation from borough officials and members of the public before Huelsenbeck introduced her replacement, Kristy Davis, the former deputy municipal clerk in Beach Haven. Davis’ last day there was Sept. 10.

“I would be hard pressed to not say thank you,” resident Rick McDonough told Wells during public comment, for all her hard work and dedication.

Doug White, president of the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Co., echoed McDonough’s sentiments. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you,” White said. “You made my job easier.”

In related business, the council appointed Vienne Peters as temporary event coordinator. Peters assumed the responsibility from Wells earlier this month, according to Resolution 2019-117. Her contract is through Dec. 31 of this year.

— Gina G. Scala

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