By Jennifer LeDuc
The Neighborhood Gazette emailed questions to Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer about her work. Here are her answers.
Where are you from, originally? If you are not a native to Colorado, what brought you here? If you are, what's kept you here?
I was born in Topeka, Kan., and moved with family to Eugene, Ore. At the age of 10, my family moved to Colorado Springs where I grew up (or at least tried to – gotta’ long way to go. Haha.)
What is your educational background? When did you become interested in public service and why?
I have a couple of years of college behind me and have continued classes throughout my career. I became interested in public service after I quit a 17-year job in the construction industry. I took a break and ended up doing some volunteer work with the Edgewater Parks Department. After that I was sold!
What is an inherent quality (qualities) about you that has contributed to your tenacity and decades long career in public service and specifically being a city clerk?
I’m not sure it’s inherent, but I think taking a step back and trying to look at the big picture and unintended consequences has served me well. I also like being able to help others, usually through teaching them about the many aspects of city government. It evolves and changes sometimes daily with new laws, state statutes, etc., therefore, I get to learn as well.
What is a skill or trait that you’ve had to develop throughout your career?
Listen more, talk less.
Describe a typical day as city clerk?
I don’t believe there is a “typical” day. That’s one of the things I like most about it. I walk in in the morning thinking I’ll start working on the council agenda, and before I know it, I’m pulled into a meeting and may have to change my direction to work on an election plan. Every day is different and being depended upon by the other departments makes me feel of service.
In your observation, how has the role of a city clerk changed in the last 15-20 years, or has it?
Being a city clerk is different depending on what city you work for. In a smaller town, you may end up doing the town’s budget, planning a street fair, as well as the typical clerk’s duties of council meetings/agendas/minutes, elections, liquor licensing, and records management. For me, the biggest changes have come through technology, which has greatly improved our records management system, our licensing procedures, council agendas and more.
Have you ever/or have you considered running for another elected position? If so what, why, when?
I think we need to give a new generation of council members a chance to help improve our community. Hopefully, I would be able to educate and show others the ropes.
What keeps you committed to public service versus a career in the private sector that may be potentially more lucrative and less in the public cross hairs?
While I work directly for the City Manager, she allows me to run my department the way I best see fit. I like the autonomy that comes with that. Being a part of a City Leadership Team that is always trying to find better ways to serve the public, conserve spending and keep Lakewood’s great quality of life.
What is it like to work in service with elected officials and in a climate that potentially can experience some strong shifts in political energy and style?
While newly elected officials may want to change policy, the City Clerk is unique in that we aren’t political (one side versus another), we are truly here to help ensure the process is fair and accurate and treat everyone the same.
What are activities you enjoy outside of work?
I have three grandchildren whom I love spending time with, going to the movies, school events, etc. In addition, I’m a mystery book buff – put a good detective novel in front of me and I’m a happy camper.
How do you keep your work and family life balanced and separate?
I don’t think there’s any such thing as a true balance between work and family life. Some weeks I work a lot of late hours at the city and the next week I may take off early to catch my grandson’s basketball game. My family always comes first and although my job comes with a lot of calendar deadlines and restrictions, I always make me time.
If you weren't a city clerk, what would you be doing?
Good Question. Probably working with young kids and teaching in some capacity or working on writing my mystery book.