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Garnett retiring

By Michael Butler

"I'm not that old," Tallassee city clerk Barbara Garnett said.

After 25 years with the City of Tallassee and 23 as city clerk, Garnett is retiring from public service.

"When I first started to work with the city, I was the youngest at City Hall. I was 34," she said. "Now as time has moved forward, I'm the oldest."

It was 1994 when Garnett came on board. She took over as city clerk when Betty Elrod retired in 1996. She has worked with six different adminstrations in a quarter of a century.

"When I was hired, I did ambulance billing, business licenses and processed payroll."

Garnett talked about the transition to city clerk.

"Government is different from the private sector. You are limited in what you can do by what the laws that the legislature has set and the ordinances the previous councils have set.

"The clerk's office is the hub of the city. I might have a to-do list, but with the phone ringing and people coming in, at the end of the day I feel good if I'm able to mark one thing off my list."

In addition to working with the daily traffic at City Hall, Garnett keeps the city's cemetery records, the council minutes and ordinances, publishes notices, handles human resource matters and oversees accounts payable and business licenses.

Mayor Johnny Hammock said Garnett was a major asset to him after being elected in 2016 and that she will be greatly missed.

"I didn't have any kind of mayor to train me, so I had to lean on her pretty heavily. I always be in debt to Barbara Garnett for showing me how things are done," Hammock said. "She has served her city well. She has agreed to help the new ladies after she retires."

In addition to Garnett's departure, Leah Burnham is also leaving her position with the accounts payable department with the city.

"She's going to work with her husband," Hammock said of Burnham. "Kayla Robinson is (now) in accounts payable. Whitney Moon is going to be appointed as the next city clerk."

Garnett says she will miss the relationships she has developed but not necessarily the mounds of paperwork or scrutiny that comes with holding a public position.

"There are times especially with Facebook (that) people make comments. If they would just call first, it would make it better for everybody. I love the people. I love my job. It gets challenging, but I've always been up for it."

Garnett's final day is Aug. 30. She will join her husband Rick as a retiree.

"He retired six years ago. He's getting ready to start my honey-do list."

The two are grandparents now as well.

"Brittany has a little boy. He's two. They're in Gallatin, Tenn., so we'll be traveling."