JACKSON – It was a time of farewells and thanks through proclamations and plaques during the last meeting of 2018.
Presentations were made to retiring Township Clerk Ann Marie Eden and departing Township Council members Ann Updegrave (who was observing her birthday that night) and Scott Martin.
Each received high praise and a plaque of thanks from Mayor Michael Reina, Council President Kenneth Bressi and the members of the council.
Eden served the township for 21 years. She began working for Jackson in April of 1997 and was appointed a year later as deputy clerk. She started serving as acting township clerk on Jan. 1, 2001. She became township clerk in December 2001.
“We tried to get her to stay,” Council President Bressi said, but noted that Eden had plans to move out of Jackson and begin a new phase of her life. “In this form of government especially, it is the clerk who is the good council president.”
The session proved emotional for Updegrave and Eden.
Eden tearfully read a resolution during the meeting which appointed deputy clerk Janice Kisty as her successor.
“It will be my honor and privilege to serve as clerk for the township,” Kisty said.
“She’ll do a great job,” Eden told the council. She added that she would miss “many great people” but was excited about starting her new life with her husband and family members.
“You were a good clerk and carried out your many professional responsibilities and our job up here is only as good to what you did. Thank you for your dedicated service,” Bressi said.
Councilman Barry Calogero said “Today Jackson lost two dedicated workers in the township. If you want to be a successful councilman, if you want to know what is going on in town, make friends with the town clerk.”
“Ann is my friend and my mentor and your leadership made me a better councilman and made Jackson a better place.”
Vice Council President Robert Nixon praised Eden’s work speaking of her “devotion and longevity” in the township’s administration. He wished her well with her move to Florida.
“Ann Updegrave has a passion for the town and was quite a note taker during meetings. You didn’t always say a lot but when you did it was worth listening to,” Nixon said.
“I have been here for over 12 years and it has been an honor and pleasure to work with you and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all the employees and staff here. I will miss you all. Ann Marie and I go back over 20 years and we got into trouble together and had many laughs and the township of Jackson is losing their diamond in the rough,” Updegrave said.
Praising the township’s attorney, Updegrave added, “Jean Cipriani you are a kick ass lawyer and you always explained things to us so well.”
Reina praised Eden for handling the “never ending OPRA (open public records act) requests. We’ve had some years of rough times and no one ever sees what some of the duties of the clerk involve. You are an asset that will be sorely missed and your shoes will be hard to fill.”
“Ann, you ran with me in years past, and as Rob said you took notes and soaked up knowledge like a sponge. If there was anything you didn’t know, you asked about. You came in with knowledge and did research on your own. You will be hard to replace,” Reina said.
Incoming councilmen Andrew Kern and Alexander Sauickie III congratulated Reina, who they ran with in November’s election, thanked Eden for her work and also welcomed Kisty on her new role as township clerk. They also thanked Councilman Scott Martin and Updegrave for their service.
“Ann Marie, I was looking forward to working with you and I know the Council President tried to keep you here for a bit longer but I am happy for you and your retirement,” Sauickie said.
“Thank you, Ann Marie, for the service you have shown,” Kern said.
While Martin was unable to attend the night’s meeting, he did post a goodbye message in an e-mail.
“It seems like yesterday I was being sworn in to my first term on the Jackson Township Council with the change of government commencing on July 1, 2006. Throughout my time in office I’ve tried to stay grounded by keeping one important thing in mind and that is I was elected to serve you the people of Jackson regardless of political affiliation. There have been many challenges thrown our way over the 12 years, but we faced them together and together we made Jackson a great place to live,” Martin said. Martin added saying “I’d like to thank all the Jackson Township employees, the police department, the fire departments, the Jackson First Aid, the Board of Education, all the civic and sports groups, but most of all I’d like to thank the people of Jackson for allowing me the privilege of serving you. It’s an honor I will never forget. So it’s goodbye for now.”