Old White House is moving

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:50

    lafayette-After almost 30 years in the big, old white house on Route 15, Lafayette Township Municipal Complex is moving. The new headquarters, located on Morris Farms Road, will be only the second official space for municipal activities. Although the town was settled in 1750, until 30 years ago town employees worked out of their own homes. The old building will soon be under the auspices of the Preservation Committee that will begin restoration work in the near future. The plan for a new complex had been under consideration for several years, and actual design began two years ago. Construction on the new building began last November. While employees packed boxes with files and records from years past, a few took the time to reminiscence. Finance Officer Gail Magura, who has been at her position for 12 years, has mixed emotions about leaving the house. What she expected to be her "temporary office," located on the back porch, became her work home for over a decade. But she is looking forward to the amenities of the new complex. Tax Collector Linda Pettinger expressed much the same emotions. A third-generation resident of Lafayette, her 32-1/2 years on the job qualify her as the longest running employee. "When I started, I wrote bills out by hand, and reported everything by hand," she recalled. Both "happy and sad" at the move, Pettinger noted how municipal employees are "like a family." The newest employee, Stephanie Pizzulo, secretary to several boards, is originally from Bloomfield, and has worked for the town for little more than a year. She is a little short on nostalgia, but is looking to the comforts and conveniences at the next site. Municipal Clerk Anna Rose Fedish began working 16 years ago as secretary to the planning board. Much has happened, including the birth of a child, during that time, but, she said, "It's time to move on and grow." Pleased to be both a resident and employee of Lafayette, she said, "We have grown with the town, and we are not leaving. I like this place." When was asked if anyone had discovered anything unusual or of interest while packing, Fedish responded, "No, just a dead mouse." Growth appears to be the key word in all the conversations being heard during the move. Township Councilman John D'Angeli has been involved with the government for 19 years. Although he would prefer to "put a gate around Lafayette," he is proud of the growth the town has sustained. "From the time I became a member of the board, so many things have progressed, including the roads," said D'Angeli. When he first moved his family from Ft. Lee 24 years ago, "Most roads were dirt or stone and oil." D'Angeli said that with planning and the aid of yearly grants, there has been extensive improvement of the roads over the years. His service to the town began as a member of the planning board, and continues today as chair of several groups in addition to his role as councilman. He praised the town employees, particularly the office staff and road employees, with whom he works closely. He also applauded the generosity of Schering-Plough, which donated the property for the new municipal complex. Without the corporation's contribution, he believes the complex still would be "under discussion" instead of a reality.