Saddle Brook clerk Pete LoDico will have years of expertise from his long public service career in town to share with the Bergen County Municipal Clerks’ Association, of which he was elected president this year.
LoDico, who grew up in Saddle Brook and graduated from Paramus Catholic High School, first entered government with a school board bid when he was just 18 years old, and remembers going door to door around the town to distinguish his young face from the crowd.
“I was totally unknown,” he remembers. “A couple times people thought I was the paperboy, and tried giving me money for the paper. And I’d say, ‘No, I’m not collecting. I’m just here to say I’m running for the board of ed.’”
The successful bid for the board, where he became, at the time, the youngest school board president in the country, laid the foundation for a long career in public service.
“I would go into the high school and teachers would ask me for my hall pass because they didn’t know who I was,” he recalled of the early years he spent in government while simultaneously studying political science at Seton Hall. “But it was an interesting experience because you dealt with budgets, personnel, negotiations, and served on committees. And that’s really how you learn.”
Much more than a learning experience, though, his career in government went on to include five years on the school board as well as a decade as a council member and one-term mayor. He joined the clerks’ association, a professional organization that Bergen County municipal clerks may voluntarily join, when he became Saddle Brook clerk in 1997.
“I became a member but of course I was learning the job here, taking classes, and for the first few years I stayed in the background,” he said.
But eventually he became more involved and was elected president of the association after moving through the ranks. His priorities will be making sure that the other 69 clerks in Bergen County have opportunities to continue their education, as well as continuing to provide a forum for professional development.
“It’s an organization where clerks reach out to other clerks that have questions, or they share something that works in one town,” DiLoco said.
LoDico will serve a one-year term as president of the association, while continuing his regular responsibilities in Saddle Brook.
After so many years in elected office, LoDico maintains that he’s happy serving Saddle Brook as a clerk and business administrator, overseeing the day-to-day functions of the town, and has no dreams of going back to politics.
“Through the mayor and council you’re serving the community,” he said, noting that he’s been pleased with the governments he’s worked under since taking over the job. “You can try to do it as a council member or mayor, but when you’re full time here it makes it easier to serve the public.”