HANSON — The Board of Selectmen, state legislators, family and former colleagues came together Tuesday, Jan. 28 to say goodbye to interim Town Administrator Meredith Marini after 21 years as the Board of Selectmen’s administrative assistant.
She served as interim town administrator several times during her tenure, the most recent delaying her retirement a month until new Town Administrator John Stanbrook could settle into his role.
“This is really a surprise, and surprising me is kind of hard,” she said while opening the gift from the Board of Selectmen.
Her family presented her with flowers, Selectmen presented her with a clock with the Seal of the Town of Hanson on its face. State Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Duxbury, and state Sen. Mike Brady gave her a mirror — to reflect on her retirement — and a reception with cake was held.
“Cake?!?” Marini said. “For people who aren’t here on a regular basis, cake is what we do.”
She counted off the 25 selectmen and eight town administrators in her 21 years on the job.
“It has been a blast,” Marini said. “It’s been the best job ever. … Remember who you’re working for, remember why we’re here and everybody will be fine.”
She credited the people she works with at Town Hall for making her work so pleasant and noted the reason she never wanted to be a full-time town administrator was because her family comes first.
Her family also surprised her, with one son, Jeff Scozzari, coming from his home in New York to join his brother Steven Scozzari and his girlfriend Suzie, daughter Trish Glenn and Marini’s husband Fran in attending the meeting.
“What can I say about Merry that each of you don’t already know?” said Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett. “It isn’t an overstatement to say that Merry has been the heart and soul of the town of Hanson and Hanson Town Hall for many years.”
She has answered questions from residents and town officials, and oriented “scores of freshmen selectmen” on their jobs.
“She is one of the hardest-working women I have ever met,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said, noting there’s a lot to Marini’s dedication that people don’t see. “She has single-handedly been responsible for some semblance of stability … in the selectmen’s office as we’ve had the revolving door of town administrators, which we’re hoping to break that chain.”
She has also continued to do her own job, while doing the little things that make Town Hall run smoothly like organizing the decoration of Town Hall for the Holiday Festival and taking part in the town’s Halloween Extravaganza.
Case in point was what Marini was doing the weekend before Stanbrook began working — spackling and painting his office so he would have a “nice, sparking office when he arrived,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said.
U.S. Rep. Bill Keating sent a Certificate of Congressional Recognition, presented by an aide, to Marini and Brady and Cutler presented citations from the Senate and House of the General Court.
Cutler related attending a Scouting event at which he was asked what a state representative did, asking if it was akin to being a mayor.
“No, that’s Merry Marini,” he replied. “We know when we need something done, we’d always call Merry and she’d always have the answer or know where to get the answer.”
The gift from Cutler and Brady was wrapped in wallpaper from the Statehouse because giftwrap wasn’t available.
“As you reflect on your many years of service to the town of Hanson, you can reflect,” Cutler said as Marini opened the mirror’s packaging.
“We get it,” a voice in the room replied.
“I can’t say much more than has already been said, other than the fact that I’m glad I checked up on you every morning, and days that I missed, you were afraid I was sick or something,” said former Selectman Don Howard, who said she was still welcome to stop by his house in the summer for zucchini from his garden.
Former Town Administrator René Read, now Duxbury’s town manager also shared memories of working with Merry during a difficult financial period for the town, when they were trying to avoid layoffs.
“I can’t believe you’re leaving,” he said after giving Marini a big hug. “When I first got here things were rough.”
He recalled talking to his wife about it after one typically long day, marveling how Marini “just won’t stop, she’s just go, go, go.”
Years later, he asked Marini about how she did it.
“S**t, you were going so fast, I thought I had to keep up with you,” he related was her reply. “I said, Merry, I was trying to keep up with you. This is the kind of conversation we should have had when I first started.”
He added he always swore if Marini ever left the Town Hall would have to close.
“They better watch out, after you walk out of here if they have to shut the lights off, I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said, wishing her a long, healthy and happy retirement.
Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Selig, who has dealt with Marini over the years, also wished her well.
“In losing Merry, you’re losing someone great,” he said.