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October 24, 2013


Long-time County Employee Served Residents for 42 Years

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders bid farewell to one of the County’s longest-serving and most respected employees during its Wednesday, October 23rd, meeting when they honored Yvonne Davis of Irvington, who retired as Director of the Division of Welfare after 42 years of service.

Yvonne Davis (front, center), former Essex County Director of the Division of Welfare, was honored during the Freeholder Board’s October 23rd meeting at the Hall of Records.  She is pictured above with: (2nd row, left to right) Freeholder President Blonnie Watson, Freeholder Carol Clark, Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold and Freeholder Brendan Gill; and (back row, left to right) Freeholders Rufus Johnson, Leonard Luciano and Gerald Owens.   (Photo by Glen Frieson)

“Yvonne, I wish I didn’t have to make this presentation, because I really don’t want you to leave!” said Freeholder President Blonnie Watson.  “I’m still trying to find a way to misplace your retirement papers”, she joked, “but after 42 years of service I suppose I’ll have to step aside and let you go.”

Freeholder Carol Clark spoke glowingly of Ms. Davis’s tenure with the Division of Welfare, and recalled the days when she’d worked with Davis prior to becoming a freeholder, saying “I’m better off because I had the opportunity to work with you and for you, and to learn so much from you.”  She went on to comment, “What a deep institutional knowledge gap the County has, now that you’ve retired.”

Davis graduated from East Orange H.S., earned her B.A. degree in Spanish from Montclair State College, and later took graduate courses at Rutgers and at Kean University, where she also earned a Certificate of Public Management.

She began her career with the Essex County Welfare Board as a Welfare Aide/Bilingual on November 11th, 1971, and retired on October 1st.  She rose quickly through the ranks to supervisory and leadership positions prior to her promotion to Deputy Director of the Division of Welfare in1992, and then to Director in 2010.  She also served as the

Department of Citizen Services’ Personnel Liaison since 1983, conducted management training since 1981, and helped develop the Department’s performance appraisal system for unionized employees.

“Yvonne, there really are no words to express how much I appreciate all you have done for the County”, said Watson.  “I want you to know that I will miss you terribly, the County will miss you terribly, and so will the residents you served so effectively over the years.” She continued, “It is my honor and privilege to present you with this Commendation from the Board as a small toke of our respect and affection.” 

Davis thanked the Board for honoring her and joked how nice it was to hear their kind remarks “while I’m still alive to hear them”, adding that it was an emotional day for her, “because after 42 years, you don’t ever imagine that you will have to say goodbye.”  She also remarked that she was already enjoying her retirement because, “the thing I’ve enjoyed most is getting reacquainted with myself.”  She also expressed her appreciation to everyone who’d helped her along the way, saying, “Everything I’ve learned has been because someone took a chance on me and saw something in me that I didn’t necessarily see myself.”

The presentation was also attended by members of Davis’s staff, County Administrator Ralph Ciallella and Deputy County Administrator Alan Abramowitz, and Freeholders Patricia Sebold, Rufus Johnson, Leonard Luciano, Brendan Gill and Gerald Owens.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders


Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695