Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh recognized retiring Municipal Clerk Sonia Gordon at City Hall Wednesday morning. The Jamaican-born Gordon concludes 28 years of service with the City of Paterson, first appointed by then-Mayor Bill Pascrell, Jr. as Assistant to the Municipal Clerk in 1995. In 2001, she was made Deputy Municipal Clerk, appointed Acting Municipal Clerk in 2014, and made Clerk in 2016.
Present at the ceremony was former Municipal Clerk and past Mayor Jane Williams Warren.
“Sonia was my assistant, she was my right hand,” William Warren said. “I’m very proud of Sonia, she’s come a long way. Her family is my family because when you’re a city employee, when you’re a public employee, you spend many hours in government and many hours in City Hall. Regardless of what happens, you have to be here. Sonia came up through the ranks, she’s been an outstanding municipal clerk, I am so proud of her to have Sonia follow me, it was an honor. She has worked very hard. She has also exemplified the role of a municipal clerk as an integral clerk in the state of New Jersey. It doesn’t matter whether you have a hurricane, COVID, or whatever, you have to be here for the voters, you have to be here for our community, and for the citizens.”
Gordon’s mother had passed away exactly a year to the day, and Williams Warren paid tribute to her late mother. “I know that she’s looking down and saying ‘this is my daughter and look what she’s done’.”
While Congressman Pascrell was unable to attend, Ashante Johnson came on his behalf to recognize the woman Mayor Sayegh described as “one of his best hires.”
“Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication,” Johnson said. “On behalf of Congressman Pascrell, I wanted to let you know that we are proud of you. Twenty-eight years is a lot. You served the City of Paterson for 28 years and you have seen different changes and shifts, implementing different things and been a voice for the City of Paterson.”
Johnson added that Gordon had demonstrated great faith, having come to the United States in 1992 and entering city government only three years later. “That’s admirable, so I personally want to say thank you for being an inspiration to the city of Paterson and others who are maybe not born an American, but they can look to you and see that they can do really great things in a new area.” She then presented Gordon with a certificate of congressional recognition from Congressman Pascrell for outstanding service to the community.
Members of the City Council then delivered anecdotes from their time working with Gordon, praising her steadiness, dedication, integrity, and sacrifice over the years in service to the city. Council Vice President Alex Mendez, First Ward Councilman Michael Jackson, At-Large Councilwoman Dr. Lilisa Mimms, and At-Large Councilwoman Maritza Davila each spoke in praise and recognition for her work as she enters retirement.
“On her journey from Jamaica to Paterson she accomplished so much,” Mayor Sayegh said. “We are profoundly proud and honored to have you be a part of our family here in the city and at City Hall. We’re so glad that we’re a part of your life and will continue to be so, because we all know that she’s far too young to retire and has far too much talent so that she can repurpose. We don’t know where she will resurface, but we know that wherever she goes, she brings her talent with her, and that entity will be better.”
Sayegh then presented a plaque bearing a key to Gordon.
Gordon said that she was excited for her retirement, but she also reflected on the many friends she had made in City Hall over the years. She thanked her family members and her staff by name, as well as her pastor who was in attendance in the audience.
“Let me give honor to God for His grace and mercy that has sustained me through my municipal journey, which has lasted for 28 glorious years,” Gordon said. “I consider myself absolutely fortunate to have risen through the ranks to the highest rung on the ladder. It is with mixed emotions that I accept this prestigious honor today. On one hand, I’m happy to pass the baton on, on the other, I’m sad to walk away from my municipal community with whom I spent 75% of my daily life.”
During her speech, Gordon said she would forever cherish the friendships she made over her career, and while her job was not always an easy one, she said that she was nevertheless happy for it. Indeed, she described her experience as “absolutely gratifying and rewarding.” She thanked Mayor Sayegh, the Councilmembers, and those she worked with both in attendance in the audience and those unable to attend.
“On behalf of everyone here,” Mayor Sayegh said, “we thank you for your sacrifice and service to our city.”
With the ceremony concluded, the mayor invited everyone for celebratory snacks and cake.