RARITAN, NJ - A myriad of borough employees, from tax collectors to police officers, have come and gone in the past 36 years – but one person who has remained constant is administrator Dan Jaxel, reporting to work despite snowstorms or tribulations, always clad in a suit and tie.
Five former mayors and current Mayor Zachary Bray gathered Monday to present Jaxel with a congratulatory plaque for his retirement, which will be effective the end of this year. Mayor Anthony DiCicco, who hired Jaxel in 1984, presented the gift and made a small speech.
For the man who kept a futon in his office to sleep on in case of inclement weather so he could be there in the morning for the start of business, former co-workers say retirement is well-deserved. Jaxel is using saved vacation days to retire early at the end of September.
“I’m very appreciative of having been given the opportunity to serve as administrator for 36 years,” Jaxel said after the ceremony. “I had terrific mayors, counsel people, employees and residents.”
The Raritan Borough Council unanimously approved a proclamation declaring Aug. 13 to be Daniel G. Jaxel Day during the Sept. 22 meeting.
“Whereas the borough is forever in debt to Mr. Jaxel, who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of his employees, satisfaction of residents and well-being of the borough,” the proclamation reads.
The proclamation was written by borough clerk Eric Colvin, who will be taking over as interim administrator.
“We really are in debt to you and you will be seriously, seriously missed by all of us,” Bray said to Jaxel.
Often behind the scenes, Jaxel’s dedication to the Borough of Raritan is fondly respected by the mayors he worked with, they said. He is recognized as a bright, dependable person who will be difficult to replace.
They said he has a knack with numbers, is a patient teacher and was dedicated to serving Raritan to the best of his ability.
DeCicco said he remembers Jaxel’s job interview, in which he proved his knowledge, kindness and character.
In his early days as administrator, Jaxel helped modernize the borough by computerizing the taxes and municipal building, DeCicco said.
“He got along very well with each and every mayor, didn’t care what political party you were affiliated with, and just worked for the borough and it’s best interests,” DeCicco said.
The borough ran like clockwork with Jaxel on its side, DeCicco said, noting Jaxel’s instrumental role in keeping Raritan’s taxes as low as possible while maintaining high quality services.
Former Mayor Jo-Ann Liptak described a multifaceted man who not only is a genius with numbers, but has a love for music and a calming demeanor.
“There aren’t enough nice things that I can say about him,” Liptak said. “He deserves every moment of retirement. He has certainly earned it from all the hard work that he has given us, and all the selflessness he has given us over the years.”
Former Mayor Chuck McMullin noted that Jaxel is a constant gentleman, echoing that his financial mind helped keep Raritan Borough’s taxes as low as possible.
“Let’s face it, whoever the governing body picks next is going to have significant shoes to follow,” McMullin said. “Dan has been a solid source to the town. In my judgment, our tax rate would be higher if it wasn’t for Dan. I think the people may not know that, but they should appreciate that.”
Jaxel said he wanted to thank Annie Lella, the Borough of Raritan’s administrative assistant, who worked by his side throughout his career.
“Thirty-six years later he is still here, that says a lot about him,” Lella said. “I wish him nothing but the best.”