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Kent city clerk to retire after 37 years

Brenda Jacober will retire Dec. 31 from the city of Kent after 37 years with the city. She worked the last 21 years as the city clerk. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Brenda Jacober will retire Dec. 31 from the city of Kent after 37 years with the city. She worked the last 21 years as the city clerk.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

Brenda Jacober has done so much in her 37 years as a city employee _ including the last 21 as city clerk _ that the Kent City Council gave her a standing ovation at her final council meeting.

After all these years, Jacober, 65, has decided to retire. Her final day is Dec. 31, which Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke has proclaimed as Brenda Jacober Day.

"We just want you to know how much we appreciate you and that we love your smile," Councilman Les Thomas said to Jacober at her retirement party. "I think about all of the work you have done over the years. I can't imagine being in the same place for so many years."

Jacober said a few years ago she had no plans to retire. This year, she decided to step aside.

"I thought about it and can't really put my finger on any one thing," Jacober said. "It just kind of felt like it was the time."

Jacober, who lives in Covington, said wants to spend more time with her 85-year-old mother who lives in Wyoming as well as her 6-year-old granddaughter who lives in Puyallup.

"Now when I go to see my mom I go 'I gotta go, I've got to be to work on Monday' but now I can go and stay as long as she needs me," said Jacober, who grew up in Wyoming.

Retirement also will give Jacober more time with Del Jacober, her husband of 43 years who retired about six years ago from Boeing. They have two children, Cindi, 41, and Kevin, 32.

"I'm just going to take it easy," Jacober said. "I don't have any big plans but I may come up with some."

That could include trips along the California Coast and to Arizona.

As city clerk, Jacober keeps track of all of the city records, sends out public notices about meetings, hearings and bids and works closely with the council to provide agendas, minutes of meetings and other information.

"It's a day of mixed emotions for all of us," said John Hodgson, chief administrative officer, at Jacober's retirement party. "It's not very often you stay with an agency as long as Brenda. And it's not very often you come across someone as steady as this fine woman. She never gets angry. We will miss her a lot."

Hodgson said Jacober always stayed on top of every official step that needed to be taken.

"The clerk's office never missed a beat," he said. "You can set time to the clerk's office."

Jacober started with the city as a part-time clerk in 1975.

"My daughter was 4 when I started and my son wasn't even born yet," Jacober said.

She was promoted to a full-time secretary in 1977 and to deputy city clerk in 1986. She became the city clerk in 1991.

Jacober has worked with more than 40 elected city officials, including four mayors. Despite her 21 years as city clerk, she ranks just fourth for longest-serving city clerks. The city has had only four clerks over the last 104 years. The city incorporated in 1890.

L.E. Price worked 35 years as the city clerk from 1908 to 1943 followed by the 22 years of Charles "Brick" Bridges from 1943 to 1965 and the 26 years of Marie Jensen from 1965 to 1991.

"People tend to stay here a long time," Jacober said about the clerks.

Kent had a population of about 17,000 when Jacober started with the city in 1975. Kent's current population is 119,100.

City employees sent off Jacober with a suitcase, Kindle, books and jewelry at her farewell party because of her love for traveling, reading and jewelry.

At Jacober's final council meeting on Dec. 11, Cooke asked her what she was going to miss the most.

"That's easy - it's the people," Jacober said. "From the beginning I loved working here because of so many nice people, hard-working people and dedicated people on all levels. It's just been a pleasure."

KENT CITY CLERKS

Name                  Years        Dates

L.E. Price              35    1908-1943

Marie Jensen        26    1965-1991

Charles Bridges    22    1943-1965

Brenda Jacober    21    1991-2012

 

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