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Council offers thanks to office staff member

Northampton Borough Council, at its Dec. 13 meeting, approved the retirement of Barbara Matuczinski, effective Feb. 28, 2023. She has served as an administrative staff member in the borough for 41 years.

“I was a working mom who took the office job because it was close to my home at that time,” Matuczinski said.

She never imagined the job would transform into an extended family-like experience and provide her the opportunity to better understand the importance of Northampton and local government.

Matuczinski noted it was a nice place to work because of the camaraderie of the office workers. The benefits of the job are helping other people with any issue.

“You pick up a lot of knowledge over the years from people about how things work, learning the history of things and just experience,” she reflected.

Matuczinski saw many changes and growth in Northampton Borough over the years. She began her career in government administration in 1981. She started as an office worker that blossomed into a 41-year career.

She commented on the struggles in the borough when local cement companies were closing during the 1980s. She said she liked and was impressed with the development of the borough park system.

Matuczinski said she will miss the friendships she has developed with the other office staff.

“We are like a large family that includes not just the office staff, but also the police, public works and sewer plant workers,” she said. “Really, all the employees.”

Mayor Anthony Pristash commented on Matuczinski’s planned retirement.

“Barb’s deserved retirement leaves an irreplaceable void in our borough family,” he said. “I wish her all the best in her future retirement and thank her for her years of dedicated, loyal and professional service.”

Council members provided warm comments of appreciation for her efforts and longevity and wondered if they would be able to find a replacement with her dedication to the borough.

“I don’t know what I can say. She is my ‘work wife,’” borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said about Matuczinski. “When I need to ask something, she has more experience in the office than I have.”

In other business, ordinance 1224 addressed the qualifications of Northampton fire chief, his assistants and captains, requiring them to reside within a 5-mile radius of the borders of Northampton. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Resolution 14-22 was also adopted unanimously. It grants a cost-of-living increase of 3% for 17 retired, pensioned nonuniform employees, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Copies of ordinances and resolutions are available from the borough office.

Council voted in support of police Chief Bryan Kadingo’s recommendation to install an accessible parking zone in the area of 1286 Newport Ave.

Council member Kenneth Hall noted 2023 budget preparations are moving forward, and a draft is expected for review by the Dec. 1 council meeting. Hall also said the annual Christmas dinner meeting is Dec. 16 at Northampton Banquet and Event Center, 1601 Laubach Ave.

Council member Judith Haldeman announced the annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony begins 5:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at Main Street and Laubach Avenue. There will be entertainment, and Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to attend.

Brian Welsko, assistant borough manager, donated the holiday tree to the borough.

The River Central Committee approved the second draft of the comprehensive plan, according to council member Trevor Stone. Northampton is a partner in the River Central Committee with North Catasauqua Borough, Catasauqua Borough, East Allen Township and Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

When finalized, and after a 45-day period of public comment, the comprehensive plan will be publicly available.

The annual Northampton Borough Fire Department’s Santa Run for delivery of children’s gifts is set for Dec. 10.

Gifts should be delivered to the fire department 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7-9. Gifts must be wrapped and no larger than the size of a shoe box. The child’s name, address and phone number are required and must be clearly marked on the gift.

In the case of inclement weather, the event will be held Dec. 11.

The next Northampton Borough Council meeting is 7 p.m. Dec. 1. It is an in-person-only meeting at the municipal building, 1401 Laubach Ave.