DENNIS TOWNSHIP — A 36-year-old former Secret Service agent has taken on a new role as mayor of this rural township in Cape May County.
Zeth Mataluccci’s friend suggested he should run for Township Committee two days before the filing deadline for candidates.
And so Matalucci threw his hat in the ring, and he was sworn in as the township’s mayor earlier this month. His newest job enters full swing Tuesday, when the township committee holds its first regular meeting.
“I don’t see myself as a politician,” Matalucci said.
He didn’t see himself as a Secret Service agent, either.
“It’s a lot of standing around and doing nothing unless you’re one of the main guys,” Matalucci said. “It was pretty boring.”
One time, he had to stand in a 100-degree kitchen for 12 hours, and he was wearing a suit.
“The job itself wasn’t my cup of tea,” he added. “I like to be hands-on.”
So after spending a couple of years protecting President George W. Bush, Matalucci came back to Dennis Township to open a headstone business in 2007, a trade he picked up from his late grandfather, John R. Lewis, who owned Bayshore Monument Co.
“I worked for him as a kid and just carried on the tradition I guess,” added Matalucci, who owns A. Matalucci & Sons in the South Dennis section of the township.
In his memorial business, most of the jobs are similar these days, with standardized shapes and sizes, Matalucci said.
“I’ve done a few large jobs,” he added. “People just aren’t looking to spend a lot of money these days.”
Fred Schalek, 46, of Woodbine, said Matalucci doesn’t hesitate in offering his stone-carving talent for good causes. Schalek said Matalucci helped his 16-year-old son Colby create a memorial to fallen firefighters. The monument, part of Colby Schalek’s Eagle Scout project, has since been placed near Woodbine’s historic firehouse.
“He actually helped him from start to finish,” said Schalek, adding Matalucci has helped other Boy Scouts with their projects. “Zeth and Colby sat down and actually designed the stone.”
Matalucci, who grew up in the township, said another thing he didn’t like about the Secret Service was living in the city. Dennis Township’s population is only about 6,400, and he said one of his priorities as mayor is to preserve his hometown’s rural character.
“It’s a great place to live,” said Mataucci, who lives in South Dennis. “People want to keep it rural.”
His other goals as mayor include keeping taxes and spending in check and bringing the township’s online presence up to date through social media.
“I want more public involvement,” Matalucci said. “I want to be more transparent.”
Matalucci received the most votes of the four candidates chasing two positions on the committee, and his victory helped shift control of the committee away from Democrats and toward the Republicans.