Deputy Hudson County Counsel Mark Morchel delivered an epic retirement speech that left the board of chosen freeholders and the crowd alike in stitches at yesterday’s meeting.
“I’m kind of embarrassed by taking up this much time, but I’ve been holding my tongue for 28 years and now I’m gonna tell you … I’m gonna tell you how I really feel,” Morchel said in a joking fashion, setting the tone for a speech that was every bit a stand up comedy routine as it was a reflection on his career.
After praising both the freeholders and the county directors for their hard work, “they could make a good living in the private sector, but they chose to serve our community,” Morchel said he was just a regular guy “who kept showing up” and really “did nothing heroic.”
The highlights of Morchel’s public comments came when he spoke about what he will remember about certain colleagues.
“You know that old Jack and the Beanstalk [line]? Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread. Well, you know what? The deal is, that wasn’t, that wasn’t [County Administrator] Abe [Antun], that was [Roads and Public Property Director] Buddy [Demellier].”
The crowd later almost appeared ready to fall out of their seats when Morchel compared County Counsel Donato Battista to Popeye the Sailor Man.
“And to the county counsel: he’s like uh … for those old enough to remember Popeye. He takes old law books, that are now online, he takes old law books and shreds them, and when a problem comes up, he squeezes the box and the pulp goes up and he goes like this [mimics consuming a drink and growing muscles].”
“And there’s like theme music that plays upstairs [makes a tugboat whistle noise] and he comes up with the answer.”
If yesterday was any indication, it appears that the Hudson County Law Department just got a lot more boring with Morchel’s retirement.