It began as a three-month temporary gig, back in 1979. And it became a career — one that Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi will step down from at the end of August.

Almost four decades in one of Ridgefield’s most visible positions, leading one of town hall’s busiest offices, Serfilippi has tendered her resignation, and will retire Aug. 31.

“It’s time to hang up the spikes,” she told The Press July 5.

“You wake up one morning, and you say: ‘it’s time.’ I often wondered, ‘How am I going to know?’ It happens,” she said.

Serfilippi, a Ridgefield native, has worked in the town clerk’s office for 39 years.

“I worked for 17 years as assistant town clerk, and I’ve been town clerk for 22 — that’s a total of 39 years,” she said. “Don’t you think that’s enough?”

She recalled her start as a temporary fill-in.

“Terry Leary, who was town clerk, took a leave of absence for three months because she didn’t know whether she wanted to keep the job or move down South,” she said.

Serfilippi got a tip from the longtime administrator of the probate office, who she ran into at the grocery store.

“Anne Buccitti saw me at the A&P and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in working just three months?’ I said “Yeah, three months isn’t bad.’ Three months ended up 39 years.”

She doesn’t regret it.

“I couldn’t ask for a better job,” she said. “I consider myself really, really fortunate.”

Dedication’s picture

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said Serfilippi’s extraordinary dedication to her job and the town will be greatly missed.

“No doubt about it. If you looked up dedication to one’s job, you’d see her picture in the dictionary,” Marconi said.

“Absolutely dedicated to be sure that office runs smoothly, professionally, providing the best level of service for the people of Ridgefield — and she’s done that.”

He informed members of the Board of Selectmen in a July 5 email.

“I know you all share my wishing her well in her retirement, and above all for her many years of service to the Town of Ridgefield and specifically to the Office of Town Clerk,” Marconi said to the selectmen. “Barbara's professionalism and commitment to the people of Ridgefield has set the standard for all employees of the town.”

Appointment, election

Town clerk is an elected position, but the vacancy will be filled by appointment.

The Board of Selectmen will be interviewing candidates and will name someone to fill the job for a little over a year — between Serfilippi’s Aug. 31 resignation date and the next town election, in November 2019, when a new town clerk will be chosen by the voters.

“So, someone will be appointed by the end of September, and will fill that position until the following November, 2019,” Marconi told The Press.

To be considered for the job, someone must be a Ridgefield resident and voter. The town charter also requires that a replacement for an elected official be of the same political party — in Serfilippi’s case, a Republican.

“The candidates must be Republican,” Marconi’s letter to the selectmen said. “I will notify the RTC for their recommendation…”

He also said he’d go to “The Ridgefield Press for public notification for other Republicans who may be interested.”

Marconi said the position would be an agenda item for discussion by the selectmen soon.

“I hope to be able to do interviews for the vacancy created by the resignation of the town clerk on July 25, in two weeks,” Marconi said Tuesday.

“I’ll be asking anyone who is interested to submit their application to the office of human resources at 400 Main Street, Ridgefield CT, attention Ms. Laurie Fernandez. Job descriptions are available now.”

The charter gives the selectmen until the end of September — 30 days after the effective date of Serfilippi’s resignation — to fill the position. But Marconi said he’d like the selectmen to make an appointment soon, if possible.

“What we’re hoping to do is get someone — and I’ve spoken to Barbara about this — whoever the person happens to be, and have that individual start as soon as possible, so that person spends some time with Barbara,” Marconi said. “Aug. 31 is right around the corner.”

Marconi said people seeking information about the job should contact Town Personnel Director Laurie Fernandez by calling 203-431-2775, or emailing HR@ridgefieldct.org.

There are three other employees working beside Serfilippi in the town clerk’s office: Anne McCarthy, Victoria Gasperino, Caitlin Bartolo.

Ridgefield native

Serfilippi is a Ridgefield native, born a Torcellini.

She went to school here, graduating from Ridgefield High School in 1960.

“I went the University of Bridgeport, then I was married and raised my family, and I came here to work.”

She recently moved into the new development of condominiums and “coach homes” on former Schlumberger land at 77 Sunset Lane.

“Very, very nice place — I’ve been there a year already,” she said. “The time is going by so quickly. You wake up one morning and you say: ‘Wow, where did it go?’”

Serfilippi, a widow, has two sons —  one in Florida and one in Bethel — and two grandchildren, as well as a 98-year-old mother.

“I’d like to spend more time with my family,” she said.

Among her thoughts in deciding to step down was simply to “have time to do some things before I get too old,” she said with a laugh.

“I’ve been here a very long time,” she added.

“That’s about it,” she said. “No great inspirations, just it’s time. You just know it.”

Still, leaving won’t be easy.

“It’s a happy thing and it’s a sad thing at the same time,” she said.

“I’ll miss everybody.”