Clerks say office is like a close-knit family
Waiting behind the counter are the three clerks, with about 71 years of combined county clerk experience.Up above their heads is a custom Colorado license plate that says “Mildred,” hanging near the ceiling above the desks at the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. Sometimes customers would ask if they could have that plate.The joke always was: “You can wrestle Mildred for it, but she’s never lost.”Nobody ever got the plate.Most anyone familiar with the workings of Garfield County knows why the plate hangs there. Retiring County Clerk Mildred Alsdorf has been hangin’ in the office and working there for about 35 years – voted in as county clerk for terms totalling 28 years. Now she’s retired, but she won’t be leaving until April 30. She’s there to help smooth the transition for the new county clerk, Jean Alberico. After that, Alsdorf said, she’ll be more or less on call to help out if needed.
That’s Mildred.”I don’t think she’ll ever retire,” Alberico joked.While she’s still at the office Alsdorf is sorting through records deciding what can stay and what can go.”There’s a lot of things in there that nobody knows about,” Alsdorf said.There’s also a number of historic items that will go on display in a cabinet in the hallway outside the office. Things like an old surveyor’s kit, old county seals and the first Polaroid camera ever used at the county jail.
Mildred will take the custom plate with her when she leaves, but she already has a more fashionable custom license plate on her car. It says “WM-2.” “WM” is a prefix, recognized by people who have been around for 30 years or more, that used to designate cars registered in Garfield County.Alberico began her term on Jan. 9 and passed the 100-day mark this week.But she’s already worked in the office for about 25 years. Marian Clayton, who ran against Alberico in the November election, has worked in the office for 11 years. The three say the office is like a close-knit family. They even preferred to be interviewed as three instead of individually.”We’ve worked together very closely for a very long time,” Alberico said.They remember still using typewriters in 1984. They remember when each employee got a custom motorcycle license plate with their first name as a desk name tag. Often, cutting down the names to only six letters produced some hilarious or ridiculous nicknames.
After the election, Clayton decided to stay on and join forces with Alberico. Clayton works as the administrative secretary and deputy clerk for the Board of County Commissioners.”We kept the politics out of the office,” Alberico said.For a few weeks after the election, the two didn’t do a lot of talking, but it wasn’t that awkward, they said.”Of course I was disappointed,” Clayton said. “But I just wanted to join forces with her and bring the office into the 21st century. … I support Jean 100 percent. I think she’s doing a great job.”One of the things the office is doing is digitizing all the records and documents and making them available through the Internet. The office is also working to have an “e-filing” capability for people to be able to file documents electronically. It will start with the public trustee on June 1.
It’s been a little more than 100 days into the Alberico term, and the transition has been fairly smooth. In a few more days, 35 years of experience will be departing, and there will be an empty spot on the wall where an old license plate used to hang.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611 firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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