Wiener continues to do his job as an Irvington clerk – Essex News Daily
IRVINGTON, NJ — On July 1 of this year, Mayor Tony Vauss and three members of the Irvington City Council were sworn in to begin their new terms.
As individuals took the oath of office, they would lay their hands on the Bible and repeat the words of the City Clerk as he administered them — from memory.
Harold E. Wiener, longtime Irvington City Clerk, didn’t need a cue card or notes to refer to his role in the ceremony. With precision and ease, he recited the oath of office — more than 80 words in total — and swore the oath of office without pause.
It’s a role that Wiener has maintained for nearly four decades. During his tenure in local government, Wiener worked with seven mayors and 35 council members; he is one of the longest-serving municipal employees in the state.
His entry into local government began modestly: Wiener said he just needed a paid job.
“I needed a job to pay the rent, and I answered a job ad in the Irvington Herald in 1980. That was before I finished my master’s degree in social work,” Wiener told the Irvington Herald. .
Wiener originally saw himself working in social work, but after a year-long stint as a consumer affairs manager he opened up new positions in Irvington government, Wiener said that his plan had changed.
Over the next few years, Wiener continued to work his way through Irvington City Hall, eventually receiving his certificate as a state-licensed Registered Town Clerk in 1986. It is this role he has filled ever since, receiving multiple accolades and serving as a member of the New Jersey Municipal Clerks Association.
During his tenure, Wiener said, a lot has changed, but nothing has affected his day-to-day operations more drastically than changes in technology.
“When I started, there were no computers, other than a central computer for the accounting operations of the finance department,” Wiener said. Then came stand-alone computers with floppy disks for storage, followed by small hard drives and a rudimentary internal network that government employees could use to communicate. This was still before the Internet, with offices using telephone modems to connect to the network.
Then came a fuller version of the Internet, fax machines, emails, and increases in bandwidth, leading to the modern use of smartphones, web-based programs, and more. Wiener saw the entire evolution of the Internet through the prism of his government position.
“Yes, technology has had a significant imprint on everything we do. There have been other changes over the years, but technology has been, by far, the main one,” Wiener said.
A more recent and ongoing challenge affecting Wiener’s office is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused massive upheaval and changed the way elections, which Wiener oversees, are conducted.
“The pandemic was definitely a challenge,” Wiener said. “Irvington had local elections that year (2020) in the spring. COVID has changed all the rules, elections and such. On top of that, the local election was contested and contentious.
Wiener said it was the team he works with and the determination of his assistant, Shawna Supel, that got the township through those early pandemic hardships, and that kept the election going.
“I give full credit and am totally grateful to the well-trained and dedicated staff in the Clerk’s Office for getting the township through this time unscathed,” Wiener said. “Ms. Supel behaved admirably with the able assistance of the staff, and I am eternally indebted to them.
Wiener said there were other people to thank as well, but so many people helped him during his career that the list would be exhaustive. He says he was inspired by countless people during his tenure as City Clerk.
“One that particularly stands out is the late D. Bilal Beasley, whose statue stands in front of City Hall for good reason,” Wiener said. Beasley was a member of the town council and later an outspoken landowner in Essex County who often worked with Wiener.
Wiener said he’s excited for what the future holds for him and his office, and said it’s been an honor to serve as Irvington’s City Clerk for all these years.
“It is and always has been a special privilege to serve the good people of Irvington, a township in which I was born, raised, educated and have spent my entire life involved. “Wiener said. “I am truly blessed and honoured.”