John Purcell/Recorder staff
City Clerk Susan Alibozek stands in front of a fireplace in her office at Amsterdam City Hall. Alibozek recently announced she would retire from her appointed position on June 30.
By JOHN PURCELL
Recorder News Staff
City Clerk Susan Alibozek announced she will step down her appointed position on June 30, six months before her term ends, so she can enter retirement and spend more time with her family.
Alibozek, 62, informed the Amsterdam Common Council and Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa of her decision to retire on Tuesday and informed colleagues at Amsterdam City Hall of her plans the following day. The common council re-appointed Alibozek in January 2016 to position, which serves at the pleasure of the council. Alibozek has held the position since January 1, 2008, when former mayor Ann Thane began her first term.
The decision to retire before her two-year term ends on Dec. 31 was primarily a personal choice after discussing it with her family, according to Alibozek.
“I had planned on working until the end of my term but circumstances have led me to make a difficult decision,” Alibozek said a in a letter to aldermen and the mayor. “After much soul searching, discussion with my family and thinking long and hard about it, I have decided to retire.”
Last year, Alibozek and her husband purchased a camp near a lake and she is looking forward to being able to use it this summer, which was a factor in her leaving as the season gets underway before her term expired. She is looking forward to spending more time with her two grandchildren, too.
“I want to be able to enjoy the summer, so if I was going to go out this year anyway I might as well go out in a good time of the year,” she said.
Her retirement announcement comes after a majority of council members declined to include her requested salary increase of $2,000, or 4.3 percent, in the 2017-18 budget.
Alibozek said the council declining to include the requested salary increase was only “a little bit of a factor” in her opting to retire. She said prior to her re-appointment last year, she informed aldermen of her plans to retire after the term expired.
“I’ve been pouring this over for several months,” she said. “It wasn’t an easy decision, because more than anything I love this job. I absolutely love it, but I’ve seen a lot of people get sick after they retire, pass away before they can enjoy much. I hoping that doesn’t happen.”
Alibozek said serving as city clerk has been an interesting experience and she has enjoyed the different responsibilities and duties of the position. “No day was the same,” she said.
Her favorite aspect of the position was getting a front row seat at city council meetings.
“I like watching what people want to do to improve things around the city,” Alibozek said. “I’ve lived here all my life, so it’s kind of interesting see everybody’s different personalities and how they want to better the city.”
During her nearly nine and a half years as city clerk, Alibozek worked with a wide variety of personalities as elections brought new alderpersons and faces changed at city hall. Despite the makeup of the council changing, she continued to be re-appointed.
“Every two years, you have no clue,” Alibozek said. “You always have to wonder after the elections if you’re going to get re-appointed.”
She said when new council members entered office she would get to know their personalities, what interests they’ll pursue and what each alderperson expects from her.
“You just have to learn how to deal with each one of them,” Alibozek said. “There are some you really don’t deal with much at all. If they’re chairman of a certain committee like Recreation, they’ll deal more with the department head there and the department head will do the resolution request.”
As long as the city clerk is doing their job, she said the individual likely won’t have an issue getting re-appointed to the seemingly apolitical position.
“Maybe years and years ago, it was a political appointment by somebody that they knew,” Alibozek said, “but I think with everything that goes through here now … you have to have some kind of background to be able to handle the day-to-day activities.”
Before serving as city clerk, Alibozek worked for 18 years at various departments within Montgomery County and was a senior account clerk typist when she departed for Amsterdam.
Alibozek also served for more than a decade as deputy clerk of the former Montgomery County Board of Supervisors. She said this position provided experience with meetings and resolutions, which became part of her duties as city clerk. She also learned how to write ordinances and local laws while at city hall.
Alibozek was appointed city clerk following the retirement of Jane DiCaprio, who held the position for 16 years.
There were several accomplishments and advancements Alibozek was proud to have made in the City Clerk’s Office since she was first appointed.
Revenue received through the Clerk’s Office increased from $46,780 in 2008 to $91,790 in 2016, according to Alibozek. She said several activities have become digitized, such records for births, deaths, marriages and dog registrations.
She said the amount of registered dogs has almost tripled since she was appointed, which has been a collaborative effort with the animal control officer. The amount of registered dogs increased from 584 dogs in 2008 to 1,418 in 2016, according to Alibozek.
Alibozek said she’ll miss working with everyone she has come to know over the years across the various city departments.
“Everybody has been great, so I’m going to miss everybody,” Alibozek said. “It’s hard to leave when you get along well and you like the people you work with. It’s hard to say goodbye.”