Mixed emotions over retirement of five city employees

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By Katie Morrison contributing writer

After many years of service five City of Madison employees – Lee Wyatt, Garold Armistead, Linda Penn, Mellie Ann Thomas, and Lynn Zachry, are retiring their positions. Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator, Lee Wyatt, has worked for Madison for 24 years. Prior to working for Madison he worked at Seimen’s Plastic Manufacturing Plant before it closed. As a waste water treatment plant operator his duties include providing general maintenance, ensuring efficient day-to-day plant operations, maintaining compliance with the Environmental Protection Division, and much more. “Lee is a long time employee. He is very hardworking and very dedicated, in an area that a lot of people don’t see and don’t appreciate. He does a very vital and very essential job. His service is much appreciated,” said City Manager David Nunn. When he is not working he enjoys fishing and working on his 1967 Camaro. He is also a Deacon at Bethel Baptist Church where he and his family are active members. Garold Armistead, an outstanding mechanic, will be retiring after serving the City of Madison for 30 years. He is leaving behind an immense role to fulfill, as he knows how to operate and repair every piece of equipment the city owns. According to Nunn, “He’s done a lot of jobs for the city, and done all of them very well. He’s very dedicated and very versatile.”

The city will miss his loyalty and efficacy as a mechanic. City Clerk Mellie Ann Thomas is retiring after 15 years of service. Her position involved coordination and supervision of the city’s records maintenance and financial transaction activities. Rumor has it that she came to City Hall looking to reduce stress in her life, but instead, through her work, she reduced stress in the lives of her coworkers. On an average day she juggled masses of documents, funds, and people, all while never losing sight of what mattered most – the well being of citizens. “She was the office manager, and the force behind everything – including me. She kept me straight with a lot of things. She took a lot of pride in making sure everyone was accommodated. She was very humble and very unassuming, but very, very smart. I think people will miss her because of that. She took credit for nothing,” explained Nunn. When many people hear the name “Linda Penn,” excellent customer service comes to mind. Linda Penn was the Utility Billing Clerk who helped citizens connect and disconnect their city utilities, such as water, sewer, gas, or garbage. Not only was she popular among customers but she also genuinely cared for the welfare of the citizens of Madison.

If a change in a customer’s water use seemed to be out of the ordinary she would personally make calls to customers to make them aware, and suggest the possibility of a leak in the home. David Nunn said, “I think people will miss her patience. Her patience was endless. She’s very understanding and tenderhearted. She represented the city very well for a long time.” She serviced the people of Madison for 21 years, inspiring her coworkers and enhancing utility billing experience for residents. Lynn Zachry worked for the city on a part time basis for three years. She was a woman of many trades who could fill just about any position where she was needed. While the business services specialist was on maternity leave, Lynn filled in. She also organized cemetery files, helped with utility bills, and so much more. “She was invaluable as far as filling in when we needed someone, and just working those hard days. She’s a very dedicated, very smart, and hardworking person,” remarked Nunn. Her versatility deemed her a dynamic factor for the overall productivity at City Hall. Without a doubt these five individuals will be greatly missed by their coworkers, as well as the citizens of Madison.

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