Long-time staff head toward retirement

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) Melissa Ward, left, will take over as city clerk on April 1, upon the retirement of long-time city clerk Maree Peck, right.

SANDPOINT — When she first took on the position of city clerk, Maree Peck was told she had some “big shoes to fill” as outgoing clerk Helen Newton said her goodbyes.

While Peck agreed with the statement, which she said she heard several times during Newton’s retirement party, a former mayor approached her.

“He said, ‘You don’t worry and work hard on filling in somebody else’s shoes, you work hard to fill in your own shoes,’” Peck said. “I thought that was very good advice.”

As such, that was the advice she passed on to Melissa Ward, who will be taking over as city clerk upon Peck’s retirement at the end of the month.

“This has been a wonderful chapter for me, but I am ready for the next,” Peck said as she sat, for the last time, in her seat at the City Council dais on Wednesday.

Peck was hired in 2003 by former city clerk Helen Newton, serving as deputy city clerk for a time. She was promoted to city clerk upon Newton’s retirement in 2005. She has served under five mayors during that time, including Ray Miller, Gretchen Heller, Marsha Ogilvie and Carrie Logan, as well as the current mayor Shelby Rognstad.

“Her service has been very appreciated and we will miss her dearly,” Rognstad said. “She is also just a pleasure to have around the office.”

In addition to the five mayors, Peck said she has also enjoyed working with a number of elected officials and city staff throughout the years, and particularly with the public.

“I thank you all very much,” she said.

Council voted in approval of Ward’s appointment to city clerk on Wednesday, which will go into effect April 1.

Ward was hired as deputy city clerk on Oct. 5, 2009, and assumed the role central systems administrator two years ago. She has led many of the city’s internal efficiency upgrades and technology improvements, including the Engage Sandpoint app, Rognstad said.

“I am confident Melissa will continue our tradition of having outstanding city clerks,” Rognstad said before addressing Ward directly and adding, “I look forward to having you as the new city clerk.”

City attorney Scot Campbell and Darlene Edwards, a long-time employee in the city’s Infrastructure and Development Services division, are retiring at the end of the month as well, said city administrator Jennifer Stapleton.

The city will host an open house from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in council chambers at City Hall, 1123 Lake St. The public, former city officials and staff are welcome to come in and share stories and wish “fond farewells” to the three retirees, Stapleton said.

“Many people have worked with all three of these individuals and they really shaped us as a city, so to say farewell and enjoy some cake with us as we wish them well in their retirement adventures — out of the country, across the country, a little bit of everywhere between the three of them,” Stapleton said.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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