Ann Kuzmik, right, was recognized by Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy and members of the City Council for her service to the city.
Ann Kuzmik was a reporter for the Mid Hudson Times when then-Newburgh City Manager Bill Ketcham convinced her to take an administrative job with the city, with a particular focus on media relations.
One of her first assignments: A pig that had escaped from a petting zoo at a local festival.
“It was my job to track the whereabouts of the pig,” she said. “It wound up in the sewer treatment plant.”
Kuzmik recalled that incident while standing outside City Council Chambers on Monday. Clutched in one of her arms was a flower bouquet, a gift from members of the Council as they recognized her retirement.
Joining Kuzmik on the list of honorees that night was Records Management Officer Elizabeth McKean.
McKean is retiring on Friday after 17 years with the city. Kuzmik’s last day in the office will be Sept. 19. She will then exhaust leave time before her retirement is official.
“I’ve had a ball,” McKean said. “I truly think this is an extraordinary community.”
McKean started volunteering with the Newburgh’s map collection department in 1997 and became a full-time employee in 1997, charged with taking caring of the engineering department’s archives.
Eventually McKean was handed the duties of cataloguing, filing and researching all records for Newburgh, a job in which she often found herself in moldy basements.
She applied her expertise to efforts to protect Quassaick Creek and resurrect the historic Dutch Reformed Church on Grand Street.
Kuzmik became a main point of contact for local reporters, who routinely fielded her press releases. She also documented 12 years worth of city events with her camera. She also watched city managers come and city managers go, with not many staying for long.
Most of all she is proud of her involvement in commissioning the design and carving of Newburgh’s 9/11 memorial and in convincing the U.S. Postal Service to use to city as the setting for its release of a Purple Heart stamp.
“From my first time in the City of Newburgh I fell in love with it,” Kuzmik said. “It’s a wonderful place.”