He has seen Morristown through five mayors, countless council members, a new town hall and a new sewer plant.
But as of Aug. 1, 2014, the town will be on its own. Municipal Clerk Matt Stechauner is calling it a career after 25 years.
“I like working for the town of Morristown,” he insisted after Tuesday’s council meeting. His secret? “I don’t get involved in politics too much.”
Matt, 62, plans to get more involved in renovating his century-old house in Raritan Township, in addition to antiquing and gardening. That last hobby should come as no surprise; he studied plant research at Rutgers University’s Cook College.
Morristown politics once had a rough-and-tumble reputation. Televised council meetings were known as “The Friday Night Fights.”
But such characterizations were “exaggerated,” in Matt’s view. Meetings were lively in his early years, said the native of Providence, R.I., and North Attleborough, MA, because big projects like sewer plant construction and the town hall move were being debated.
In Morristown, the clerk is appointed by the town council and his duties include serving as secretary to the council and to the town’s corporate entity, Matt explained.
He also is the town’s election official, and has testified in legal disputes over candidate petitions and residency questions. The clerk has a three-person staff, and oversees issuance of town permits and licenses, maintains ordinances and contracts, and is registrar of vital statistics.
“It’s always something new,” he said of the $94,000 job. “We’ve got 45 liquor licenses, and huge redevelopment.”
Heck, it almost sounds like he will miss the place.
“Morristown is a great municipality with great people and great resources, a great location and a great downtown,” Matt said. “The town is in great financial shape. All the people who work for the town are wonderful people. People should know how hard they work, and how much they care.”