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Martin city clerk retiring after 27 years

Martin city clerk retiring after 27 years
By JOE LOFARO
Special to The Press
MARTIN — After 27 years of working at Martin City Hall, city clerk Brenda Harvey has decided to retire.
“We have several things we (she and husband, James) want to do and we want to spend some time at our cabin in Parsons,” Brenda said.
After 27 years, Harvey has seen plenty of firsts in her tenure. “I was a part of the  development of the Martin Recreation Complex, the first Tennessee Soybean Festival, all the downtown beautification and the new city hall.”
Harvey remembers that first day of work in 1986 like it was yesterday. “Robert Neal Glasgow hired me and I remember balancing my drawer with a pencil. He came over and pointed to the pencil and asked me what the thing on the top of the pencil was called. I said it’s an eraser and he said, ‘use it and don’t worry about it.’”
Harvey, who still balances a drawer daily, said she doesn’t use a pencil anymore. “We started using the local government program and computers in 1989.
When Harvey started at city hall she was required, along with the other city clerks to work the counter, on the eighth of the month, when all the water bills were due.
“Thanks to Mayor Carl Savage we now have five different due dates,” Harvey said.
In addition to her other office duties, Harvey answered the telephone.
“You know city hall is like a public relations office,” she said. “We would get all types of questions. One day, Harvey answered the phone and was startled by the question. So startled she repeated the question out loud, “Where can I get some boobs?”
After further discussion, Harvey learned the caller was looking for a prosthesis. “I didn’t know what to tell her. I told her to call the hospital.”
In 27 years, Harvey has worked for five different mayors – Virginia Weldon, Bob Peeler, Carl Savage, Larry Taylor and Randy Brundige.
“I survived all five of them,” she said. “The citizens of Martin have been wise in their elections. We have had five good mayors.”
Linda Walker, the only city clerk at city hall serving longer than Harvey, said she will miss her colleague’s sense of humor and a whole lot more when Harvey bids the city adieu later this month.
“I will miss her energy, her wisdom and her outlook on life,” Walker said.
Others will miss Harvey too. Kenny Edwards, the city’s codes enforcement officer will miss his Buttercup.
“I have been calling her Buttercup for about 10 years now,” Edwards said. “She had some fresh buttercups on her desk one day and I have been calling her Buttercup ever since.”
While Harvey spends more time at her cabin, you can bet she will also spend a lot more time with her four children, Angela, Terri, Tom and Stephen. She also has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Perhaps the family will get together to shell lima beans.
“I always told my children that shelling lima beans builds character.”
Published in The WCP 6.20.13

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