State worker to be new Lambertville clerk

Loretta "Lori" Buckelew, 32, will replace the retiring Mary Sheppard.

By: Mae Rhine
   LAMBERTVILLE — Loretta "Lori" Buckelew of Point Pleasant has been hired to take over as city clerk, replacing Mary Sheppard, who is retiring.
   Ms. Buckelew, who will be 33 Aug. 4, will make $55,600. Ms. Sheppard’s salary is $55,692.
   Ms. Buckelew will start part time Monday and will be present at a special meeting of the City Council that night.
   Ms. Buckelew said Tuesday she took the job because she wanted to get back to dealing with the public. She also said she liked Lambertville because "it’s a beautiful small community and managed very well."
   She will work part time until Aug. 13, according to Mayor David Del Vecchio, because she has "things to clean up" at her job as assistant to the director and deputy directors at Local Government Services at the state Department of Community Affairs in Trenton.
   "Obviously, we didn’t want to leave DCA high and dry," Mayor Del Vecchio said.
   Ms. Buckelew confirmed she had to "take care of a few outstanding items" before she left her state job.
   She added she had no plans to relocate "at this time" but she wouldn’t rule out moving closer to the city sometime in the future. Her commute to her state job takes about an hour and 10 minutes and Lambertville will be only about five minutes more, she said.
   "I told them (city officials) I’ve never commuted under an hour," said Ms. Buckelew, who is single with no children.
   The decision to hire Ms. Buckelew was unanimous, according to the mayor.
   "She’s a very nice woman," he said. "She’s been a clerk before and now works at Local Government Services at DCA. In fact, she oversees the training of clerks."
   At the special meeting Monday, the mayor said, Ms. Sheppard will be appointed as an office assistant at her current salary.
   "Mary has vacation time for another month or two," he said, so Ms. Buckelew "will have all the constitutional duties because the clerk has to sign all papers."
   Mayor Del Vecchio said the council interviewed 16 people, one of whom was a man. It narrowed its choices to three, then at its regular meeting July 19, the council voted unanimously to make Ms. Buckelew an offer, which she accepted.
   Her appointment will be made official Monday, he added.
   According to Ms. Buckelew’s resume, her current position involves legislative functions, such as preparing position papers and testimony, then testifying before legislative committees; regulatory functions, such as drafting finance notices and assisting in rulemaking for the Local Public Contracts Law and the Length of Service Award Program; various projects, such as school construction and Regional Efficiency Initiative; conducting internal audits and preparing, administering and processing the registered municipal clerks exam.
   She also serves as liaison to the Municipal Clerks Association and speaks at conferences, seminars and meetings.
   She was a municipal clerk for Long Hill Township from June 1998 to January 2000. She was deputy municipal clerk for Maplewood Township from October 1993 to May 1998.
   She has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science and criminal justice, both from Kean University in Union.
   She is certified as a registered municipal clerk and has a certificate as a certified municipal registrar.
   She has volunteered as a member, treasurer and band manager for St. Brendan the Navigator Pipes and Drums, Point Pleasant, since 2001; the Jersey Shore Celtic Pipes and Drums, Manasquan, N.J., since 2001; and the Essex County Clerks Association as a member and chairwoman of the Education Committee from 1993 to 1997 and still is an honorary member.