SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — After 16 years with South Orange, including 10 years as Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Kathryn Schmidt is retiring. A proclamation honoring her employment and service was passed and read aloud at the Feb. 24 Board of Trustees meeting. Deputy Director Peter Travers has been named the next director.
Village President Sheena Collum read from the proclamation: “Whereas…Kathryn Schmidt has developed the User Fee Trust Fund for improvements to all of the athletic fields, implemented a customer service based registration platform, organized all of the department’s programming, and oversaw the renovation of Cameron Playground, Farrell Field Playground and Grove Park Playground; and whereas, those who had the pleasure of working with Kathryn will truly miss her friendship, professional camaraderie and dedication, which she displayed in her work at Baird.”
In her comments to the board and the public, Schmidt acknowledged that “While we all know that dealing with the public day in and day out has its challenges, it can also be extremely rewarding.” She said that in retirement she will miss “the people: the residents, the officials, the professional colleagues, and the hundreds of volunteers and folks I’ve met along the way.”
The trustees then sang Schmidt’s praises and told her how much she will be missed. Karen Hilton said that Schmidt has “grace, honesty, and integrity… Thank you for sharing your talents with us.”
Bob Zuckerman said, “I’ve enjoyed every single minute of working with you.”
Steve Schnall, who was elected in 2013, said that Schmidt helped him understand how to run a committee when he was new. He called the department's committee, which he formerly chaired, “the fun committee” because it dealt with playgrounds and sports, and said he said “it is the people we work with make it rewarding and fulfilling” to be a village trustee.
A resolution was then passed promoting Travers, who started working in the rec department when he was 14. "It is succession planning at its finest... You have enthusiasm and youthful exuberance," said Collum. "We are very confident in your ability.”