Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2001

City open house honors its clerks

April 19, 2001

Eudora students and residents will soon get the chance to witness the inner workings of one local government office.

Eudora Mayor Ron Conner declared April 29 through May 5 Municipal Clerks Week during the city's April 9 meeting.

To celebrate the event, the Eudora City Clerk's office will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 30. The office will also host an open house and give tours on May 2 for students in government classes.

City clerk Donna Oleson said this would be the first time the general public would be able to tour the office. After three years as city clerk, Oleson said she was looking forward to showing others how the office works.

"Maybe I'm getting a little bit more comfortable with this position," she said. "I want to work with the schools and the public. I think it's just a good thing to do."

Keeping an open line of communication with the public has been something the office has worked on, Oleson said. An office that deals daily with Eudora residents relies heavily on good communication to keep it running smoothly, she said.

"I think it has improved in the last couple of years," she said. "But just like everything else, we could improve on it."

The city clerk's office handles many of the day-to-day operations within the city. Office workers issue and receive payments on utility bills, sell cemetery plots, take court fees and issue dog tags. The office also oversees the rental of the city hall conference room for banquets, birthday parties and meetings.

"It seems like every time you turn around, somebody's wanting it for something," Oleson said.

The office is also responsible for issuing paychecks to city employees and answering residents' questions. Oleson said when she started working for the city 15 years ago as an assistant, the office had only one phone line.

With Eudora's growth, the city office has had to adapt to keep up, she said. Fortunately for Oleson, she has three co-workers to help make the job a little easier.

"We have four lines and sometimes they all just ring at once," Assistant City Clerk Arlene Smith said.

Office worker Tammy Donovan said sometimes the office is used as a directory for Eudora numbers.

"The worst are the school and the post office," she said. "(Residents) call here to get those numbers."

Other troublesome times in the office come when customers don't pay their utility bills and someone is sent to a residence to disconnect a utility. Office worker Pam Schmeck said that was especially hard because many times the customers are also friends.

"One of the lows is disconnect days," she said. "That's no fun."

Oleson said many of the more difficult aspects of the job occur when dealing with personal lives rather than the financial and clerical.

"I think the worst part of my job is having to sell cemetery plots to families that are so upset," she said.

Municipal clerks week is held in conjunction with the International Institute of Municipal Clerks.

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