By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Maryann Smeltzer was born in Long Branch, and for the last dozen or so, has lived with her husband of 39 years in West Long Branch.
Her allegiance, by logic, would be to one of those towns.
Not so for Smeltzer, who’s spent the last 31 years, with a break, making a daily trip up Ocean Avenue to Sea Bright Borough Hall, working her way up from a part-time secretary to borough administrator.
“Whenever I talk about my town, [husband Richard] thinks I’m talking about West Long Branch, but I’m talking about Sea Bright,” she said. “Sea Bright will always be my town.”
Smeltzer, who turns 60 on June 2, will retire from her town at the end of June.
The decision to leave comes two years after her husband retired, giving the couple an opportunity to fulfill traveling dreams. For Smeltzer, it’s also a chance to open up her appointment book for a business she’s curated the last several years as an ordained minister officiating at weddings a side job prompted by her duties as a clerk and registrar with the borough, after seeing marriage license gaffes and losses.
And, when you’re performing weddings, it’s the antithesis of what she deals with as administrator, where, she said, “usually I’m the one (people) go to when they’re raving mad.”
“It’s a happy thing,” Smeltzer said. “You don’t have people complaining. It’s pleasant.”
Smeltzer started her career in 1980 as a part-time clerk for the planning and zoning office when she was raising her children, and stayed with the borough until 1983. She returned in 1989, and six years later was appointed to full-time deputy clerk. After earning her municipal clerk’s license in 1996, she was appointed to the clerk position the next year. She’s served as the borough’s administrator the last two years.
“My personality suits this job. For me, this job is probably the best thing I could have picked for a career,” Smeltzer said.
It’s also a challenging and taxing role, requiring lots of research and analyzing, long work days and interaction with angry people, she said.
“It’s not dull at all,” Smeltzer said. “I’m not going to miss any night meetings, that’s for sure, or to wake up at 4:30 in the morning for elections.”
Which, by the way, she’s got one more to endure the June primary before heading out of town.
“I know that I will miss the people here. I’m blessed and thankful to be able to retire young and get a pension,” she said, “and just go off into the sunset with my husband.”