Sunday, October 1, 2023

Voll Announces Retirement as Cape May City Manager

Voll Announces Retirement as Cape May City Manager

By Vince Conti

Cape May City Manager Michael Voll announced he will step down from his position at the end of the year.
 Michael Voll is Cape May's City Manager.
File Photo
Cape May City Manager Michael Voll announced he will step down from his position at the end of the year.

CAPE MAY – Michael Voll may be finally ending a decades-long commitment to public service. At the Cape May City Council meeting, Sept. 5, Voll announced he will step down from his position with the city at the end of the year.

Mayor Zack Mullock noted that Voll served as mayor of Middle Township for 16 of his 18 years on that municipality’s governing body. Voll also spent four years as administrator in Lower Township before coming to the position in Cape May in January 2021.

During his remarks announcing his retirement, Voll took special aim at Deputy Mayor Lorraine Baldwin. At the previous meeting of the council, Baldwin raised the issue of starting the search for a new city manager, effectively jumping the gun on Voll’s formal announcement.

Voll said Baldwin’s actions led to concern among members of his staff, creating the image that he was being fired. Voll said he met with Mullock and Baldwin in August to inform them of his plans to step down at the end of his contract in December. He asked that no public comment be made about his leaving until he made an announcement after Labor Day.

Voll said Mullock agreed, but Baldwin obviously did not. Voll said the mayor polled the other members of council who agreed to let Voll make his announcement on his own schedule. Baldwin, Voll said, “disrespected” the will of the rest of the council when she jumped the gun.

During the public comment period, Sept. 5, former Councilwoman Bea Pessagno also criticized Baldwin. Pessagno said Voll had the right after so many years of service to make his announcement in his own way.

A further element of controversy developed when Voll accused Baldwin of saying to others that he, Voll, had been the cause of a number of city lawsuits. Baldwin denied it and there has been a buzz in the city, with people naming the names of those individuals who could verify Voll’s accusation.

Mullock and other members of the council thanked Voll for his service to the city, with Mullock saying, “Over the last three years, you did a tremendous job. I’m just glad you are on my team.”

Voll came to the position of city manager at a difficult point, as previous manager Jerry Inderwies Jr. left the position following a hotly contested election that saw Mullock beat incumbent Mayor Clarence “Chuck” Lear.

Almost immediately, the council and Voll found themselves in a controversy over bonus payments to seven employees that had been made in 2020 by Inderwies from monies in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Also at issue as the new administration took office was the need to move immediately on the construction of a new firehouse and the planning for a separate new police station. The best way to provide upgraded facilities for the two public safety departments had been a central issue in the election.

Voll’s long experience in municipal government paid off, as he found himself in the midst of an almost unprecedented number of facilities and road projects, including the firehouse, Allen African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, conversion of the Franklin Street School into a branch library and community center, replicas of historic arches on the Promenade, renovation of beach area restrooms, and coordination of municipal and county roadwork that is essential to the smooth running of the city in its high season.

Voll also saw the city through the settling of labor contracts, some of which had been unresolved for a long period. A past police officer himself, Voll also oversaw the increase in the size of the city department, allowing the police to properly staff patrols that cover the city, West Cape May, and Cape May Point.

As Voll said, Sept. 5, “I’m not quitting, I’m not being fired, and I have not turned in my resignation.”

He said he intends to continue doing his best for the city and its residents through the end of his contract. He promised to aid in a smooth transition to a new city manager.

Voll once explained that he has maintained his many years of public service because it is a task he loves. The hardest road for Voll may be the one he has now chosen – retirement from public service.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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