BY JENNIFER BAILEY
City Clerk Janet Myers is wrapping up her last week as a city employee. Friday is her last day before retiring.
Myers, 59, has worked for the city for about 27 years, 22 of those as city clerk. In that time, there has been a lot of turnover of other city employees, but she’s worked with primarily two mayors — Bob Jones and Scott Eisenhauer.
Myers was hired in 1986 by then-Mayor Wilbur Scharlau. That’s when city hall was on Hazel Street and the city still had a commissioner form of government.
Myers was hired as an administrative assistant in the finance department. She was secretary of the finance commissioner, central purchasing agent and delinquent accounts clerk.
In 1987, Bob Jones became mayor and the commissioner form of government changed to a mayor-alderman format. Myers also then became secretary to then-comptroller Ron Neufeld.
It was in 1991 when she was appointed city clerk to replace the then-retiring Marj Kair.
Jones said Myers “did an outstanding job. She handled the job well and grew into it.” He said they were both learning how to run the new government and be successful.
“Everybody worked together,” Jones said.
He said more duties were required of the city clerk over the years.
He wishes Myers the best in retirement.
Myers, who was born and raised in Danville, graduated Danville High School in 1972. She took a lot of secretarial classes, which helped prepare her for her first job with the city. She said her office was kind of hidden with the commissioner form of government and in the old building.
“Everything was closed door. Meetings were held mid-day …,” Myers said of the old form of government and about her short time working with Scharlau.
Myers said when she started working with Jones, it took a while for them to gain trust and for her to feel more comfortable in giving her opinion.
“We had to learn together,” she said.
Myers said Jones was a “good mayor,” as Eisenhauer also is. She said there is more teamwork with city employees under Eisenhauer.
“He’s more of a visionary,” Myers said of Eisenhauer. “(Eisenhauer) thinks more about the future and possibilities … He has a vision (for) the city.”
Myers said when city hall moved to Main Street, the city clerk’s office was more front and center with the finance department.
“I separated myself as a separate department,” Myers said.
She said the city clerk’s office is a “one-stop shop” for a lot of paperwork and information. That has meant even more paperwork and time-consuming work including meeting Freedom of Information Act requests. The city clerk’s office preserves and maintains all official permanent records for the city, including ordinances, resolutions, contracts and other documents.
The city clerk also records, maintains and preserves the minutes of city meetings; is the FOIA officer for the city; is a trustee of the Fire Pension Board and of the Police Pension Board; issues licenses and permits to businesses, for parades, etc.; and administers oaths and affirmations.
The office also now has a deputy clerk.
Myers has seen various changes in her duties and the office during the past 22 years, including technological changes.
“We were on the phone all day. Now we are on e-mail all day,” she said of information requests and dealing with other items. “(The public) looks for me for a lot of information.
“I pride myself in serving the public,” Myers added.
Myers said she has enjoyed doing research for people, and looking at old minutes and ordinances on an issue. She “works for everybody,” she said, about residents, the aldermen, city officials and others.
Myers said dealing with “different personalities” with aldermen also changed the city council during the years.
She said not as many people are excited about getting into public office as they used to be.
Myers has been recognized over the years by her city clerk peers and received accolades. She’s a Registered Municipal Clerk through the Municipal Clerks of Illinois, a Certified Municipal Clerk and a Master Municipal Clerk. She also received the Ilion Crabel Member of the Year award through the MCI and three presidential awards through the Central Illinois Municipal Clerk’s Organization.
Myers said she’ll most miss talking and working with the public and her co-workers.
She is looking forward to spending more time with family and will possibly get a part-time job in retirement. She also will continue her involvement with AMBUCS and Trinity Lutheran Church. She also might volunteer her time with city boards or commissions in the future.
Myers said she expects to stay busy, which will include cleaning her house.
Myers is training her replacement, city treasurer Lisa Monson. Monson takes over on July 1. Monson is replacing Myers again after replacing her 22 years ago in her finance department position.
Myers has told Monson to “do your own thing. She’s the clerk and she’s in charge.”
“There’s a lot of multi-tasking. You just have to do it,” Myers added.
Myers said she expects to become more emotional about retiring on Friday, her last day.
“This is my family,” she said of her co-workers.
Myers said her fellow city clerks also are “very dear friends” and she’ll miss them, too.
Monson said Myers helped plan and was a presenter at a recent city clerk’s seminar.
“I just hope I’m able to maintain the high level of customer service,” Monson said.
A public open house will be 1-5 p.m. Friday in the Robert E. Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St., for city clerk Janet Myers’ retirement. A presentation is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.