By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — City hall will be losing a familiar face at the end of the year.
Geraldine “Geri” Mondi has been watching over city lawmakers for the last 10 years as confidential council secretary, but as of Jan. 1 she will be retired.
Mondi, who has held her position through 13 council members and three mayors, said she looks forward to retirement but will miss the bustle of the office and the young people who come through city hall.
“I’m going to miss the people,” Mondi said.
Mondi, who worked for eight years as a secretary for local New York state senators before coming to city hall, said one of her fondest memories of her job was learning how to read a budget from City Controller Maria Brown.
“I had never even seen a budget book before,” Mondi said. “She sat with me and showed me how to read it and what the lines meant and everything. I studied and I thought, ‘whoa, this is so cool. I know how to read a budget book.'”
Mondi said being able to sleep in will be nice but the part of retirement that will bring her the most joy will be having unlimited time to visit her grandchildren, 14-year-old Austin and 8-year-old Jared, in Florida with her husband, Tony.
At Wednesday's council meeting, her final session as council secretary, Mondi was honored for her work along with Purchasing Agent Dean Spring and outgoing Superintendent of Police John Chella, both of whom are also retiring.
During the meeting Council Chairman Sam Fruscione, who has worked with Mondi for several years, characterized her as more of a family member than co-worker.
“Not only was she our secretary, but she was almost like a mentor because she had the most wisdom sitting here out of anybody,” Fruscione said. “She was here longest.”
Fruscione credited Mondi with always being attentive to the needs of city residents, handling their concerns in a way that made them feel their voices were being heard.
“She would do whatever she could to make them happy and then she would pass them on to us to finish whatever job there was to do,” Fruscione said.
Fruscione said he and other council members didn't want to let Mondi go because she is so good at what she does, but that they are glad she will have more time to enjoy with her family.
“We wish her the best,” Fruscione said.
After the council meeting, Mondi went down the line leaving each council member with a hug, a kiss and a few kind words.
Mondi said throughout her time at City Hall she has always been impressed with the people who fill it.
“They are a group of amazing people that work so very hard,” Mondi said. “Through it all we always laughed and had a good time.”