Whether he’s getting his hands dirty on the job or delivering his joke-filled monthly reports to the mayor and the Board of Trustees, Paul Jessup is always around — and prepared to deliver a quip or a compliment.
A Malvernite for 62 years, Jessup has been a familiar face to many people in the village. He spent the past 21 years as superintendent of the Department of Public Works. Before that, he volunteered for the village’s Fire Department for roughly 30 years. After decades of service to the village, Jessup retired as the DPW superintendent in July.
“I’m very blessed and I was very fortunate,” Jessup, 65, said at a Sept. 4 village board meeting. “I had a crew there that was so dedicated, and no matter what it was, they took pride in it and did it well. I think I’ve only had to give an order once or twice in my career. All I had to do was ask somebody, and they’d say, ‘You got it.’”
Jessup received a citation from the village’s Board of Trustees for his years of service. Jessup, who owns a farm in upstate New York, also received a toy tractor for his grandchildren.
“He’s been a true public servant,” Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett said. “There’s so many types of jobs and work that Paul has done that people don’t know about that he never asks compensation for, that he never looks to get anything back in return. All the work that he’s done ... it really means a lot to us. We appreciate it immensely.”
Jessup has overseen many village improvement projects, supervised a staff of more than 20 DPW employees and was at the heart of many community events throughout his career. Jessup’s rapport with his workers, residents and village trustees — as well as his achievements as the DPW superintendent — earned him the recognition of his peers in 2011. He was featured in an issue of New York State Superintendent’s Profile Magazine, a monthly whose readership includes highway superintendents, public works directors and other industry officials.
“Paul became known as a dedicated professional, taking pride in providing public service to our residents and to all the individuals he encountered,” Corbett said, reading Jessup’s citation.
Jessup said that communicating with the residents was a significant part of what made his job great. “He interacts with the residents very well, and I think that’s very important, especially in a small community where you’re dealing with the public on a day-to-day basis,” former Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald said of Jessup in a previous Herald story. “He’s people-friendly, which is a huge plus for us.”
Village historian David Weinstein said that shortly after Jessup was appointed, the village suffered a heavy rainstorm, and the intersection of Kenilworth Street and Nottingham Road was severely flooded with rainwater that spilled into residents’ basements. Jessup, who was also a plumber, went to Radio Shack, brought a remote control toy vehicle, attached a camera to it, and ran the vehicle through the drainage pipes. There, he found that a tree root was growing into them.
“Paul’s suggestion was to basically have the drainage pipes rubber sealed and it worked, saving the village thousands of dollars,” Weinstein said. “Paul took a lot of pride in his work. He was an excellent superintendent who cared about his workers and his fellow residents in the village. The way the DPW responded to incidents during Superstorm Sandy was certainly one of the many examples evident of that.”
Longtime DPW employee Kevin Brady was appointed as superintendent last month, and was sworn in at the village’s board meeting. Jessup, who worked with Brady several times through firefighting, plumbing and the DPW, said he is the best man for the job. “If it wasn’t true, I wouldn’t say it, but I know his dedication and his mentality,” Jessup said of Brady.
Malverne Police Department Chief John Aresta added that he grew up with Brady, and the institutional knowledge he has of the village will be key in his success. “We’re going to have a great time working together, and it’s going to pay dividends to the village having Kevin here.”
“It’s not just me and Paul here, but it’s all the members of the DPW,” Brady said. “They’re the ones that are out there day and night doing the work, cutting the lawn and making the village look beautiful. They’re the ones that deserve the round of applause.”
Jessup echoed Brady’s comments and thanked the DPW for all of their help. “So many times people will come up to me and say, ‘You did a great job,’” Jessup said. “I didn’t do it. They did. They’re the ones that make me look good in your eyes.”