LODI, N.J. — Tony Luna, Lodi's longest-tenured borough manager, is retiring after 11 years.
Now in his late 70s, the lifelong resident and former mayor said he'd considered the move for more than a year so that he could spend more time with loved ones. But he said he still had work to finish.
"Most of my life I've been in politics," Luna told Daily Voice. "It takes a lot of time from your family."
Luna started his political career in 1972 and spent time on the council before becoming borough manager.
His family is part of Lodi's history stretching back nearly 135 years. Two of Luna's uncles and a cousin have all been mayor.
Luna said he wanted to see through several projects before leaving. Most involved development, such as the addition of the mall and ShopRite. He also leaves the borough in sound financial shape, he said.
Luna said he'll miss the day-to-day operations and the people he has known for decades. Still, he said, "I'm only a phone call away."
The Borough Council is accepting applications through Friday, Dec. 4 before beginning interviews to find a successor for Luna, whose last official day is Dec. 31.
For Luna, the successful candidate will understand that Lodi has preserved a small-town mentality.
"It's not just strictly business," he said. "A lot of it is just a personal approach."