Clerk: Township has made great strides in past 10 years

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To the editor:

For those of you who don’t know me I am your Municipal Clerk, at least for another couple of weeks. Although it has been common knowledge for quite a while that I was retiring, I formally submitted my notice of retirement at the township committee meeting this past Tuesday (Oct. 9). The decision is bittersweet for me. As the Municipal Clerk I have never worked harder at a job; however I have truly loved every minute of it.

I have been the township clerk for the past ten-and-a-half years and have worked for the township in other capacities for many years prior. I’ve been here long enough to see the township change from a little country town to a major force in the county and more importantly a power to be taken seriously in Trenton. I’ve seen state and federal issues emerge in the last few years that would never even have been dreamed of by earlier administrations.

During the years I have worked here I have seen many mayors and township committee members come and go, and for the most part working for them was a positive experience for me. However, I can truly say that Richard Palombo has been the best mayor that this community has ever had. I have said it many times – he brought our little community and the township workforce out of the dark ages. He is a true leader as well as being a good and decent man. His sense of integrity and fairness inspires the best efforts of us all. He sees the big picture. For every difficult decision he has ever made for this community his only concern is with how the decision affects Upper Township now, and the impact it will have on our future years.

It is said that a good leader surrounds himself with good people and that is what Rich has done. Our township has a superlative attorney with Dan Young, and we are so fortunate to have a professional engineer, Paul Dietrich, on staff who also does a million other jobs to keep the township running along smoothly. I see Mayor Palombo along with the township committee and the professionals as a highly capable, well-oiled machine; a precision team respected throughout the county and state. Their interest has always been for the good of Upper Township – no hidden agendas, no petty meanness, no favoritism. Everyone is treated the same. If you want examples of what I base my opinions on you just have to read previous issues of this newspaper, the list goes on and on and includes – saving the BL England plant, the Strathmere de-annexation matter, the Marmora Town Center designation, Strathmere beach fill project, COAH, development of an outstanding emergency preparedness plan, numerous shared services. These are major issues with positive outcomes as a result of the work of the township committee, the professionals, and the support personnel.

I have worked many years with Mayor Palombo, Committeeman Curtis Corson and Committeeman Jay Newman to formulate this opinion. They have my highest respect as leaders of our community.

I am not in any way casting any negativity on the newest members of the township committee. As new committee members, I have found both Ed Barr and Anthony Inserra always eager to learn and understand the government process. Mr. Barr, a committee member since February, has the educational background and management experience through his experience in police work. Mr. Inserra, a committee member since January, has owned his own successful business for many years. They both have background experience that is beneficial to their seat on township committee. However, government is different than the private sector. In government there are so many more rules to follow. What is acceptable in the private sector could easily result in a lawsuit in government. The newest members of the committee are gaining experience in local government every day and as with any important task, experience is everything.

The township committee is a good mix now. The times we live in are uncertain both economically and politically, not just in Upper Township but the entire world. However, Upper Township is in pretty good shape and I want to see it stay that way. I’ve seen Upper Township move from the “dark ages” into the modern times and I certainly don’t want to see us fall backwards again.

I wish to thank the township committee for giving me the opportunity to serve this town that I love. I also wish them good luck as they continue to look out for us.

Wanda Gaglione

Upper Township, Municipal Clerk

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