Mayor’s Message — Recognizing Deputy Mayor Dennis Clowney

Clowney’s 12-year stretch on the Harrison Township Committee will come to an end at the end of this year

Deputy Mayor Dennis Clowney (left) poses for a photo with Mayor Louis Manzo

Since the initial issue of The Mullica Hill Sun, I’ve gotten great feedback on this weekly Mayor’s Message. But this particular entry will not please one person, for sure. In fact, he will probably hate it because of the subject matter: him. I’m referring to our Deputy Mayor Dennis Clowney. I can feel him squirming from here as he reads his name. He despises being the center of attention. So, Clowney, I suggest you just turn to another great article in The Sun while I speak to all the other residents of Harrison Township.

Earlier this year, Clowney advised us he would not seek re-election after 12 years of dedicated service to this community. Clearly, we all would miss his presence and input, but we all recognize the time, commitment and responsibility that comes with local government, and 12 years is a long time. His term ends at the end of the year, so this past Monday night we officially recognized him with a proclamation at our township committee meeting (Surprise! He hated it). We followed up with a small get-together at the American Legion afterward (bigger surprise), but he adjusted quickly and had an enjoyable time. Amazing how some friendly faces and your favorite libation can change the tone.

Clowney had already been on township committee for two years when I joined him in January 2008. Our focus at that point was dealing with the population growth rate of our community and significant fiscal issues. We had no idea of the nationwide economic downturn that was looming which would dictate things locally for the next decade. I recall sitting with Clowney and the other committee members as we mapped out a plan of delegation within the group. This philosophy is still in place and has served the community well. Clowney played a key role in that transition as he took on the roles of liaison to recreation and public property as his main appointments. Needless to say, he did an incredible job building the connection to township committee on those fronts, while also serving as deputy mayor.

Clowney went on to establish our Veterans Commission, which I have mentioned in the past. His passion for supporting those who have worn the nation’s uniform is unmatched. Every aspect of what you see and hear about in Mullica Hill concerning veteran’s programs or activities is somehow connected to Clowney. The revitalization of the American Legion Post 452 in town stands as a shining example of his effort, as he engaged many others to make it a destination to be proud of; which it now is.

Clowney epitomizes how a public servant should behave. I have never met a more selfless person and I know I speak for the entire Harrison family in saying thank you for all you have done for us. Personally, you clearly made me a better mayor with your levelheaded counsel and input. More importantly, I feel blessed to call you my friend. You’re a good man Clowney, and you will be missed.