City clerks have the answers

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Somers Point City Clerk Carol DeGrassi Somers Point City Clerk Carol DeGrassi SOMERS POINT - When there is a question about the city, chances are pretty good the city clerk will have the answer, even if the answer is just to find the right person to answer the question. The clerk's office is the information hub in most towns, and that is certainly the case in the Mainland communities.

In Somers Point, the city clerk is Carol DeGrassi. The Linwood city clerk is Leigh Ann Napoli and in Northfield, it is Mary Canesi. 

May 4-10 is the 45th annual National Municipal Clerks Week.

In Somers Point, City Council approved a resolution at its April 10 meeting acknowledging the wealth of knowledge of City Clerk Carol DeGrassi in her 37 years at City Hall, the last 11 of those years as city clerk.
"People don’t realize the importance of the city clerk. Carol is the rock. We go to her for so many answers and she keeps us all straight,” Mayor Jack Glasser said. “Her longevity in City Hall makes her a great resource. Our City Clerk's Office is the focal point of our city offices."

DeGrassi said she enjoys a lot of things about her job. Born and raised in Somers Point, she likes the people she works with and many of the residents who come in to City Hall or call with questions. She has known them most of her life.

"I love the fact that I have never been bored. It is the kind of job that you never know what you will be dealing with when you walk in the office in the morning or pick up the phone," DeGrassi said. "I love working with all of our many volunteers, and it’s always an honor to swear in the fire and emergency management officers each year at the reorganization meeting."

The Somers Point City Clerk Carol DiGrassi said that staying on top of the constantly changing laws and regulations is a challenge.

"We are forever learning,” she said. The City Clerk's Office is where people come for many reasons – various licenses, vital statistics and sometimes just to see if the bluefish are running, according to DeGrassi. 

DeGrassi has two children and six grandchildren and lives in Somers Point.

Linwood City Clerk Leigh Ann Napoli is has held the position for 12 years. Before joining the Linwood City Hall team, Napoli was a legislative aide. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration.

Napoli said the most enjoyable part of the job is working with others for the betterment of the community. "Linwood is very lucky to have a wonderful group of very dedicated employees and volunteers that all work together to improve the quality of life here.”

The job of city clerk has its challenges. Napoli said at present, the most challenging part of the job is working within the state's current budget constraints. The most common questions Napoli she fields are about taxes, she said. Napoli lives in Linwood and has three school age children.

Northfield City Clerk Mary Canesi said what she really enjoys about her job is that her neighbors are also her customers.

"I really enjoy helping them find the answers to the questions they might have," she said.

Canesi said complying with the law is a challenge.  "We are very regulated and it is hard to tell people that we do not have discretion, and that the government does not operate like a private employer. It is difficult to explain when you are helping residents to understand the highly regulated nature of the Municipal Code Book that we must adhere to," Canesi said.

The city clerk said the job is so interesting because every day is different, adding that there is no common question that residents come or call to inquire about – it changes all the time.

"We don't have all the answers, but we do work hard to find a way to fix new problems, Canesi said. She lives in Northfield and has one son.

Linwood City Clerk Leigh Ann Napoli Linwood City Clerk Leigh Ann Napoli   Northfield City Clerk Mary Canesi and Northfield/Linwood Police Chief Robert James. Northfield City Clerk Mary Canesi and Northfield/Linwood Police Chief Robert James.

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