Some Ironton employees get reorganized

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

The retirement of long-time Ironton water administrator Charlene Thomas left a big hole in the city, but it is one that officials are working to repair.

Some city employees have moved into new roles this month, attempting to fill the gap left late last month by Thomas, who had been with the city for more than two decades.

For 14 years, Ellnora Smith has assisted Thomas as the water clerk. On March 1, she stepped in to Thomas’ job while doing some of her old work, serving as the water clerk/administrator.

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City residents coming to pay bills will still see Smith occasionally, but she’ll also be occupied with Thomas’ tasks, such as making deposits and handling billing.

Smith admitted that Thomas, who had been with the city for more than 20 years, left some big shoes to fill. She said that while she was excited about her new responsibilities, she was a little nervous about heading up the department.

“Oh, of course, yes,” Smith said. “But I’ll be OK as long as the Lord’s walking with me. I’m just so used to Charlene being here.”

But Smith won’t be without aid. Assisting her in the water department will be Patty Bowen, formerly the engineering clerk since 1997.

Although she said that she’s been doing a lot of job training, Bowen said that she, has enjoyed the switch, a return to working with a public she wasn’t exposed to much in engineering.

“I used to work at Super America, I was there for 17 years, and I dealt with people, customers, all the time,” Bowen said. “When I came here it’s like I lost contact with so much of the public, and … you know, I missed them. I like seeing all the people again.”

What’s still unclear is who will fill Bowen’s position. Katrina Keith, secretary to mayor John Elam, said that the city should begin advertising for a new engineering clerk soon.