Dolan envisions a grand retirement

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ABSECON – Absecon City Council will, no doubt, make one of its more difficult recent personnel decisions during its Thursday, Feb. 21 meeting this week.

The board was expected to formally approve the advertisement and search to replace City Administrator Terry Dolan, who will retire June 30.

“There are three reasons: Dillon, Lucy, Charlie,” Dolan said during a telephone interview from his office on Tuesday, Feb. 19. “My grandchildren.”

Dolan, 62, said he had made up his mind last summer after talking if over with his wife, Linda. He informed Mayor John Armstrong and the members of City Council during the Feb. 7 meeting.

“My impression was that people were pretty much surprised,” Dolan said.

A family moment last weekend proved to Dolan that his decision was the correct one to make.

“I was up north at a baby shower with son and grandson,” Dolan said. “We didn’t want to be there, as you can understand, so we went to a diner for lunch.”

During the meal, Dillon, 7, moved closer to his grandfather.

“By the time we were done, he was sitting on my lap,” Dolan said. “It’s amazing how they just want to get closer to you and be with you. There is nothing better than that.”

Dolan has served in Absecon 12 years.

“My journey to Absecon started in 1975,” said Dolan, who lives in Egg Harbor Township. “I was director of grants management for the city of Syracuse.”

In 2001, Dolan, who grew up in Central New York, had decided he had had enough of the northern climate and lake-effect snowstorms. He wanted to look further south.

“It was obvious that my children were not coming back to Syracuse after college,” he said. “So this opportunity presented itself and I took the job.”

Besides, his wife grew up in Atlantic City and she wanted to be closer to home, he said.

Dolan said he has been extremely lucky to work in a community such as Absecon.

“I have worked with many elected officials,” he said. “I couldn’t single out any one of them because they all have been a pleasure to work with.”

Dolan said the residents of Absecon made his job and time here more memorable.

“Well, I think I will most miss the residents of this city,” he said. “It has really been a pleasure to work for them.”

Absecon residents are different from those in other communities, he said.

“They are quite civically engaged,” he said. “Many, so many people volunteer their time to make Absecon a better place to live.”

Also, Dolan admits, many residents aren’t “shy about calling in about their problems. Still, it’s been a pleasure to work for them.”

His gave out a little laugh and said, “I have to say I’m going miss the people, their calls about picking up the leaves, plowing the streets, filling the pot holes,” Dolan said. “That’s why I do this.”

Dolan also praised the city’s staff of employees.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the staff over the years,” he said. They are one of the most conscientious and dedicated group of public servants anywhere in the state. It’s been my pleasure to be able to work with them. I thank them for everything they did while I was here.”

Dolan said he plans to remain living in the area, but is prepared to travel to Southern New York to visit the families of his son, Joe, 34, and daughter, Laura, 36.

“I don’t have any real plans,” he said, “except to learn how to be a good grandfather.”

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