Her familiar face was missing from Murrieta City Hall as employees started the new year.
City Clerk Kay Vinson retired in December 2013 after 36 years of public service, 22 of those for the City of Murrieta.
Vinson was the ninth city employee, hired shortly after incorporation in 1991. She oversaw 14 City Council elections as part of the myriad duties of a city clerk, which also include administering public access to city records and legislative actions ensuring transparency, as well as acting as the compliance officer for federal, state and local statutes.
During a retirement ceremony held Dec. 3, 2013 as part of a City Council meeting, Council members thanked Vinson for her years of service and lauded her for her “can-do attitude.”
Councilman Rick Gibbs said she was a “consummate professional.”
Council members agreed her smile would be missed around City Hall.
Mayor Alan Long said she “saw a tremendous amount of change and turmoil” that went along with the city’s growing pains.
“Watching the city grow under you and the leadership has been extraordinary,” Long said.
One member of the public, Diana Serafin, who led the effort to get the red-light camera measure on the 2012 ballot, thanked Vinson for her professionalism.
“You answered every phone call, every email,” Serafin said. “You taught me a lot.”
Vinson gave parting comments, saying she took her “oath of neutrality seriously” and that she was convinced that the city leadership she has worked with had “the city’s best interest at heart.”
Before coming to Murrieta, Vinson was elected as the clerk for the City of Barstow in 1987. Prior to that, she served as the deputy city clerk of Indianola, Iowa for 10 years.
She thanked her husband for his support through the years, as well as his “good listening skills,” which got a chuckle from the audience. She said she looked forward to spending more time with family and friends, and “more time at the beach.”
Sarah Manwaring, who has been mentored by Vinson, will serve as the interim city clerk.
“I’m confident the City Clerk’s Department will be in good hands,” Vinson said.
Another longtime city employee was recognized during the retirement ceremony Dec. 3: Public Works Inspector Jeff Caiden.
With the city since 2004, Caiden was the city building inspector when City Hall, the Police Department and the Library were built. He then became the public works inspector and oversaw projects such as the Veteran’s Memorial and the Youth Center.
“We’ve had some economic setbacks in the last few years, but we are moving forward,” Caiden said, in reference to the recently completed Youth Center that for years was in the planning stage.
“You’ve took the weight on your back and kept your nose down,” Mayor Alan Long said to Caiden. “Enjoy your retirement.”