One Jersey City civil servant received plaudits and earned tenure while another veteran worker bade farewell at the City Council session last Thursday, Feb. 23.
The council voted 8-0, with Ward C Councilmember Richard Boggiano absent, to reappoint Sean J. Gallagher, municipal clerk and local registrar of vital records, to a second three-year term through 2026.
Under state statute, municipal clerks must serve five continuous years to gain tenure, or permanency, in the position and may not be removed except for “good cause” after a “fair and impartial hearing.”
Members of the city governing body offered testimonials to Gallagher’s dedication to his job, timely preparation and distribution of the agenda for council meetings, respectful interactions with the public, and timely public notification of council sessions.
Ward F Councilmember Frank Gilmore thanked Gallagher for giving him a “crash course” in the workings of city government from the time “when I picked up (nominating) petitions (to run for office)” through his participation as an active lawmaker.
Gallagher drew high praise from Ward B Councilmember Mira Prinz-Arey for helping guide the council through the complexities of functioning during the pandemic while Ward A Councilmember Denise Ridley commended him for doing a “great job” collecting and collating information and maintaining records “in a city this size.”
“We’re lucky to have you,” said Councilmember-at-large Amy DeGise. Ward E Councilmember James Solomon noted that Gallagher could be counted on to provide information “promptly and fairly. You’ve always given us the honest truth.”
In the time he’s served as City Clerk, “You’ve made the position your own,” said Council President Joyce Watterman. “You’ve shown yourself to be a caring person and an advocate for your staff.”
And there’s no question, Councilmember-at-large Daniel Rivera said, “he loves Jersey City with all his heart.”
Gallagher paid tribute to his predecessor, Robert Byrne, who stepped down as city clerk in February 2020 after 31 years in the job. Gallagher served as Byrne’s deputy for more than 18 years and before that was the city’s records retrieval operator for nearly eight years.
A graduate of Marist High School, Bayonne, and of New Jersey City University, Gallagher also credited the late Barbara D’Agosto, former deputy city clerk, with having “pushed” him to continue working in city government to strengthen his prospects for self-growth and advancement.
One important lesson Gallagher said he’s learned over the years is, “You don’t have a good clerk without a good staff.”
The council also took time to acknowledge city employee Joseph Michael Macchi on the occasion of his retirement after 27 years with the city Department of Recreation.
Born and bred in the city’s Greenville section, where he attended Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School, Macchi participated in youth sports leagues sponsored by the parish, Babe Ruth Little League Baseball, and Jersey City Recreation Leagues.
A Marist High School alum who earned a bachelor of arts from the former Jersey City State College, Macchi joined the city’s staff in 1996 as a recreation worker and later secured certification as a New Jersey recreation administrator. He held the title of Recreation Department director a short time under former Mayor Healy.
Macchi coached boys basketball at Marist, Dickinson High School, and St. Peter’s Preparatory School and served on Our Lady of Mercy’s Sports Committee and on the Marist High Board of Trustees and was active in the JCSC/NJCU Green & Gold Club, the Hudson County Special Olympics, and the Boys & Girls Club of Jersey City.
A council resolution notes that Macchi credits his parents, Bill and Cathy Macchi, and his older brothers, Billy and Ed, as “making him the man he is today.”
Gilmore called Macchi “a class act and a breath of fresh air.” DeGise congratulated him for “never looking for a pat on the back” while performing his job, and Rivera remembered the time Macchi spent interacting with thousands of youngsters, like himself, at Roberto Clemente Little League.
While the city “is losing a big heart in Jersey City Recreation,” Rivera said, Macchi’s positive attitude “will definitely be contagious with your work colleagues. You’re a great product of your parents.”
“Your commitment to Jersey City children says a lot about your character,” Watterman assured Macchi.
Macchi described himself as a product of the city’s streets and parks “where I continue to listen and learn.” For that reason, he said, “I wear my (city) nametag everywhere I go … because I know people have a lot of tell.”
Looking ahead, Macchi said, “I feel the direction of the department is in good hands.”
In other business, the council approved a revised set of forestry standards governing the planting and management of new trees in Jersey City; withdrew for further review the first reading of an ordinance proposing to vacate a dead-end section of Morton Place for a prospective mixed-use development project; renewed a lease with Harwood Corp. at 808 Pavonia Ave. to reserve 36 spaces for city police working out of 2 Journal Square pending a move to the city’s new Public Safety compound at the Hub; and rejected bids submitted by NY Waterway, of Weehawken, and New York Cruise Lines, of NYC, to provide ferry service from Port Liberte ferry terminal as excessive.
Over objections raised by residents Phil Carrington and Jeanne Daly, the council ratified this year’s $391,465 budget for the Jackson Hill Main Street Special Improvement District. Michele Massey, the district’s executive director, said the district plans to use a state grant to install security cameras and lighting along the commercial district, between Ocean and Bergen Avenues and from Claremont to Bayview Avenues, this spring to deter crime. Next year, plans call for storefront improvements with façade funding, she said. “We’re also working with Sustainable Jersey City and Kessler Institute on a health equity program for the district,” Moody added.