LAKEHURST – Eight weeks. That’s the time that passed between Maryanne Capasso taking the Registered Municipal Clerk exam and finding out the results over the long Memorial Day weekend.
She passed. She’s official.
The Lakehurst Borough Council passed a resolution June 6 appointing her as municipal clerk. Almost as an afterthought, when the council meeting adjourned, a resident offered a hearty congrats to which the governing body and sparse audience offered applause.
After all, Capasso has been a fixture at council meetings for some time, and going solo since former clerk Bernadette Dugan retired after 30 years back in December. Dugan poured her years of experience onto Capasso before leaving, and she’s been acting clerk since the new year.
Municipal clerks are much more than simply secretaries; they are a vital part of the daily operations of the town. While secretarial work is part of the job, the state requires that regular municipal clerks be issued the RMC certification. Capasso took her exam, after completing four intensive classes, in April.
The core duties of the job, according to the borough website, include:
- “act as secretary to the municipal corporation and custodian of the municipal seal and of all minutes, books, deeds, bonds, contracts, and archival records of the municipal corporation. The governing body may, however, provide by ordinance that any other specific officer shall have custody of any specific other class of record;
- “act as secretary to the governing body, prepare meeting agendas at the discretion of the governing body, be present at all meetings of the governing body, keep a journal of the proceedings of every meeting, retain the original copies of all ordinances and resolutions, and record the minutes of every meeting;
- “serve as the chief administrative office in all elections held in the municipality, subject to the requirements of Title 19 of the Revised Statutes;
- “serve as the chief registrar of voters in the municipality, subject to the requirements of Title 19 of the Revised Statutes.
- “serve as the administrative officers responsible for the acceptance of applications for licenses and permits and the issuance of licenses and permits, except where statute or municipal ordinance has delegated that responsibility to some other municipal officer;
- “serve as coordinator and records manager responsible for implementing local archives and records retention programs as mandated pursuant to Title 47 of the Revised Statutes.
- “perform such other duties as are now or hereafter imposed by statute, regulation or by municipal ordinance or regulation.”
And yes, she had to know all that for her exam.
Capasso moved to Lakehurst with her family as a young child, and except for a brief time after getting married, has lived in the borough ever since. She worked as a paraprofessional in Lakehurst Elementary School for 11 years while her children attended there. She then worked part time for the municipal alliance before joining the municipal clerk’s office in 2013.
Three years later, the then-deputy clerk moved into the treasurer spot where she felt more at home. Capasso seamlessly took on the deputy clerk duties, and when Dugan started considering retirement, shadowed her mentor to eventually fill that spot.
“She was friendly with everybody,” Capasso said of her predecessor, who still stops by twice a week to say hello and have lunch. “You just try your best. And you greet everybody with a smile. That’s what she did.”
Capasso moved back to the borough as a young mom to be closer to family. But she stayed for other reasons.
“Here, you know everybody. It’s a nice, quiet town,” Capasso said.