After working for the town of Yorktown for the last 28 years, Fran Perito is retiring. Perito, an office assistant at the Yorktown Police Department, said she will miss the people she works with but looks forward to spending more time with her two grandchildren.
"I have tremendous mixed feelings about the retirement," said Perito, a Mahopac resident. "I think I'm going to be sad because it's just nice being around nice people, people that make you laugh, people that you're happy to see every day. But it's time."
Her last day is Thursday, Jan. 31.
Perito has been at the police department for the last 15 years. Her career in Yorktown began in June 1984 when she was hired for a part-time summer job position after having answered an ad in the paper. She first worked in the town clerk's office before transferring to the building department, where she worked for nine years.
"When she says that she looks at the police department as her family, she is certainly the integral part of it," Yorktown Police Chief Daniel McMahon said. "She keeps us all together with Christmas cards, people have births in their families, she makes sure everybody gets a picture on the wall of fame."
Patch: What have been the highlights of your experience in Yorktown?
Perito: I definitely feel the highlight is working here [at the police department]. I don't know if the people in Yorktown realize what a dedicated, well-trained group of men and women that work in the Yorktown Police Department. I am always impressed at how much training they get and they're all very well trained and dedicated and very nice people.
I always wonder with all the people they interview, they've never picked anyone I've ever met that wasn't nice and it's a pleasure to work with them. They are all very nice young men and women. All young to me because I'm the oldest person in the building, so they all call me grandma.
It has been an interesting, very interesting experience. I consider myself very fortunate that I got this job. It's not like your standard office job – I can tell you that.
Patch: How is this not the standard office job?
Perito: First of all you see and hear things that the average person wouldn't. I mean in certain arrests – some of the stuff is not pleasant. When I have to enter these arrests, some of them I wish I didn't see or hear. But for the most part, it's different varieties, it's different things that are always coming across my desk. You never fail to be amazed at the human condition of people.
Patch: What will you miss the most?
Perito: The people. I mean after 15 years they're actually like a second family. You spend more time with the people here than you really do with your own family because it's five days a week, eight hours a week you're here. They are all so friendly and I just enjoy being around them. They are genuinely nice people.
Patch: What are you looking forward to the most in retirement?
Perito: I'm hoping ot be able to spend a little more time with my grandchildren [7-year-old twins Jack and Victoria]. Montgomery is not around the corner, so when you are working, I don't get to see them as often as I like and hopefully now I can see them a little more bit. They are two great kids. Nobody believes they're twins because they don't look alike, they don't act alike.
Patch: How do you feel looking back on your career in Yorktown?
Perito: I started part-time with having answered an ad for just a part-time summer job and fortunately Geri Schwalb was able to convince the town board to keep me after the summer was over. And I worked in her office for three and a half years and that was interesting. She mostly recorded the town board meetings on a dictaphone and then I transcribed them for the official logs that get kept.
And it was an interesting place too because people come for dog licenses and things like that so you see a lot of the public. I met everybody because at that point the mailboxes were in her office, so everybody from other departments throughout the town would come in to get their mail so it was a good office to be in and to meet everybody. People were very friendly. Nancy Eliot was the supervisor, she was a wonderful lady and she was kind of like the mother hen of everybody. And it was like a real family.
After that I worked downstairs in the building department with Bill Gregory for nine years. Mostly I handled the alarm permits and false alarms and stuff like that. Not as interesting, but it's what I did. And then I knew a lot of people from the police department because I used to call them regarding the false alarms that they responded. So that's how I knew some people before I even came here.
Patch: What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
Perito: My favorite role is to be a grandma and they all know I like to read. I spend my lunch time in the kitchen every day reading. And I was home for five months this fall for two back surgeries and I read 30 books.
Editor's Note: Perito also said she is a big fan of Elvis Presley and has numberous pictures and posters of him all over her desk.