The City of Hillsboro has several key employees retiring this Spring. In the past few weeks, two staff have retired after 37 years.
Glenda Stoppel recently retired after 37 and ½ years as the deputy city clerk. She began the position in 1983.
“The biggest change over the years came with the advancement of technology. When I first started, there were three of us in the office that is currently occupied by our economic development director and we all shared one big computer. Several years later, we added a fourth position, moved to our current location, and we each had our own computer. As technology grew, so did my responsibilities,” said Stoppel. “I’ve worked with some great mayors, council members, city administrators, and co-workers over the years. It has taken all of us working together to make our town the best it can be.”
While some of her duties remained the same the entire time she worked the job, Stoppel also got to be a part of new experiences.
For example, Stoppel started out doing the city’s payroll and continued to do it until her retirement.
But things changed some when the city changed to a Time & Attendance program as the way to track employee hours for payroll in 2017.
“It was a great opportunity to train employees and work through the bugs of the system because we were one of the first cities to use this program. I was learning along with the lady from the support team. We shared a lot of laughs as we worked through this new program and I’m happy to say it has been running smoothly for quite awhile,” said Stoppel.
She also worked with the financial and RecDesk (registration software) aspects of the Hillsboro Recreation Commission (HRC).
“One of the best parts of my job was when I started working with the HRC. It has been rewarding to watch so many of our programs grow in enrollment numbers as well as our overall line-up has increased in the amount of programs the HRC now offers. I’ve had people who have moved to Hillsboro from out of town tell me that they are amazed at the variety of programs the HRC offers the community. Even though we have reached these accomplishments by working together with our HRC Director, HRC Board, instructors, etc, it is a sweet feeling knowing that I’ve contributed to this growth,” said Stoppel.
While Stoppel is looking forward to retirement, leaving is bittersweet.
“After you work with the same people for so many years, you really become a family. You share the joys, sorrows and ups and down that come with life. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, but am really going to miss my co-workers,” she said. “I’m going to really miss so many people of our town and the things they’ve taught me about what it means to work with the public and also the importance of team work. I’ll still see them around town, but it won’t be the same as the feeling you get when you help someone with a problem or as routine as paying their utility bill.”
Stoppel said her first goal of retirement is to learn how to relax.
“I want to see what it’s like to be able to have a clean house and still have time to read a book. Ha! My husband and I have two of the sweetest grand kids who I’m hoping to be able to see more now that I’ll be flexible with my time. Eventually, I’ll probably work a part-time or “fill-in” job, but not until I’ve had a chance to experience retirement and all of the fun everyone tells me that comes with it.” said Stoppel.
“Glenda has been a joy to work with for the past 9 months. Her dedication of the last 37.5 years has kept the city moving forward. We’re all sad to see her go, but also excited for her next chapter. She’ll have an opportunity to enjoy her family and take time to explore the country. Glenda had definitely earned a good retirement,” said City Administrator Matt Stiles.
City Worker Mike Duerksen also retired last week after 37 years working for the city in various positions.
“When I first got hired I was in the street department and then when I got the chance I moved up to the water department and then the sewer department. I got my state certification after awhile. I left for a few years and then came back and to the water department,” said Duerkson. “I would work in one department and then people would quit so they would move me to another department to help out. I was in charge of electric and sewer at one point. There was a big fire and we had to rebuild. I helped hire people then and most of those guys are still here.”
Duerksen said he has worked in every department except for trash although he has helped out there as well.
Duerksen was hired under the first City Manager (now called City Administrator) Ray Baker and has worked under every single one even though he left for a few years from 1983-1988.
“I have had a lot of fun and worked with a lot of good people,” he said.
While he has enjoyed his job, Duerksen is ready for a break.
“Through the years I was always on call, plus I joined the fire department for 42 years, so I’ve always been called out in the middle of the night—I guess I won’t miss that all. Sometimes I would be grilling steaks and have to just leave,” said Deurksen.
His family remembers those times as well.
“As a friend of his said yesterday at his retirement party, he’s a pioneer of this community and the hardest working man I will ever know. Through these many years, he’s worked on every different dept, has been on call every other weekend and sometimes every weekend when co-workers would ask him to take theirs. He has taken calls in the middle of the night about someone’s electricity being out and has stayed up all night to get it back on and then kept going and worked through the entire work day and even then he would have to go to a game or some activity of his kids or grandkids after! He is always there for anyone who needs him. Not just his family, but friends, coworkers, strangers, etc. The man can’t say no when you ask him for help,” said daughter Missi Duerksen.
Duerksen has a lot of plans for his retirement. He has a lot of old cars that need to be restored and “a couple of houses I’ve got to paint” and he would like to do some traveling, car shows and races.
“A lot of the activities that I have enjoyed have been canceled for the last year,” he said.
He plans to do plenty of hunting, fishing and camping. But he plans to stick around, too.
“Hillsboro is a good place. You want to treat it as such and give back as much as you can,” said Duerksen.
“Mike’s been a fixture in our electric and sewer departments for a long-time. There isn’t anyone who knows our systems better than Mike. Thinking about all the weather events and after hour work to keep the lights on and sewer flowing, you can’t help but have gratitude for Mike’s dedication to the community. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Stiles.