Oneida city clerk receives plaudits at farewell ceremony

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ONEIDA — A respected member of Oneida city government, City Clerk Sue Pulverenti gave a tearful goodbye at her final Common Council meeting after an outpouring of support.

It was business as usual at Tuesday’s meeting until Mayor Helen Acker began to speak. Pulverenti “is a very beloved person, and she’s retiring,” Acker said.

“She has given her heart and soul to the city for many years, she is going to be missed,” the Oneida mayor added.

Pulverenti began her work at the city of Oneida as a part-time clerk at the Oneida Water Department on March 30, 2000.

She was later appointed to the deputy city clerk position in 2003 and served in the position for five years.

Pulverenti was appointed to the city clerk position on March 31, 2008, and has served Oneida for 13 years in that capacity.

Several city department heads had something to say about
Pulverenti’s impact on their careers.

From Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Salerno: “I wanted to congratulate you on your well-deserved retirement. Thank you for everything you’ve helped me with over the years. During my tenure as fire chief, you’ve always helped me with whatever questions I had. Coming into a department head position can be very daunting, especially when you don’t really understand government or how things work,” Salerno added. “Your assistance over the years made things so much easier to do my job... Your work, dedication, and knowledge did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”

From Fire Chief Dennis Fields: “I want to thank Sue for her 20 plus years of service to the city of Oneida and its residents. I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with her personally and professionally throughout those years, whether it was getting a marriage license, dog license, or working with her on city matters.”

“She was always willing to assist with a smile on her face. With her well-deserved retirement, the city of Oneida is losing a valuable asset, and she will be truly missed,” said Fields.

Oneida Parks and Recreation Director Luke Griff said, “Everyone from the Parks and Recreation Department has enjoyed working with you and not only consider you a valuable asset to our city, but an enjoyable presence at city hall. While you will be missed by all of us, you definitely deserve your retirement.”

Oneida Police Chief John Little said, “If people knew how dedicated [Pulverenti] was to the city, their minds would be blown. It’s something [everyone at the city] would always say [when they had a question] — ‘Oh Sue, would know.’ You’ve been such a great resource to the city, so enjoy your retirement.”

Acker presented Pulverenti with a proclamation, recognizing her “...legacy of integrity, service, and excellence to the city of Oneida.”

“As city clerk, she went above and beyond for the residents of our city, as well as assisting the various departments, city attorney, and members of the Common Council in her capacity as clerk to the council and the mayor,” Acker said.

Pulverenti’s official last day, Friday, April 9, 2021, will be recognized as “Sue Pulverenti Day.”

She received a round of applause and a standing ovation.

Pulverenti walked up to the microphone, and though she wore a mask, it was clear the outpouring of support overwhelmed her and left her in tears.

“It’s kind of bittersweet for me,” Pulverenti said as she attempted to collect herself.

“I’m going to be 70 this year, so I figured it was time for me to go,” she said. “I’ve been under eight different mayors. Jim Chappell hired me to work at the Water Department. Then I went on to Leo Matzke. Then Peter Hedglon came in. Then Leo Matzke came back in. Then Don Hudson, God rest his soul. Then Max Smith. And then Leo came back again. And now Helen.”

“It’s been a ride, and I’ve really enjoyed all the mayors I’ve worked with,” she continued. “They’ve all been wonderful. Since I took this job in April 2008, I’ve been to 458 Common Council meetings. 313 of them have been regular meetings. 145 have been special meetings. And in all those years, I’ve only missed going to one. So there’s either something wrong with me or something right.”

Pulverenti thanked all the department heads and city employees, adding that she will miss everyone. “I really feel like I’m vested in that city clerk’s office,” she said. “It’s going to be hard for me to leave, but I think it’s time.” Pulverenti said she hasn’t given much thought to what she’ll do in retirement yet but did say she thinks she might stop by a meeting or two to see how everyone is doing.

Taking over for Pulverenti starting Monday, April 12, will be Sandy Lapera, who currently serves as deputy city clerk. Lapera admitted she’s got some big shoes to fill, but she feels confident. “I’ve been with Sue for 13 years,” Lapera said. “She’s prepared me, and I feel I’m ready to take on the role and see where it goes.”

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