While elected officials have come and gone in Sunrise Beach over the years, Connie Stadler has been a fixture at City Hall for 16 years. The first full time city clerk employed by the municipality, she is now the first person to retire from the village.
Connie says she has loved her job working at the heart of the growing Sunrise Beach community since she came on board in 1996 - for those of you doing the math that's 18 years but she left the city several years ago to work at the Camden County Courthouse for a short time before returning.
"I dearly love what I do. There is so much involvement in the community. I've made many, many friends being city clerk — with both business owners and residents," she says.
When Connie first went to work for Sunrise Beach, back when Charlie Wren was chairman of the board of trustees, City Hall was open part time from 10-2 three days a week. Police Chief Dave Slavens was the city's only other employee at the time working part time as well with Camden County deputies covering the municipality during his off-duty times.
Each year, Connie pushed the board to extend City Hall hours until eventually they got to the current regular hours of 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
She also pushed for employee benefits - refusing to come back to work for the city from the county until benefits were offered.
But even when she worked for Camden County, Connie stayed involved with the municipality by mentoring city clerks.
During her tenure with Sunrise Beach, she also became a certified court administrator and helped bring the state JIS automated court record system to the village.
As city clerk, Connie has been a part of 25 of 27 annexations that have broadened the boundaries of Sunrise Beach as well as many of the successful tax elections held by the village.
In addition to being involved with the elections for the transportation and capital improvement sales taxes and the elimination of property tax, Connie says she was the catalyst behind getting the use tax reinstated in the village which passed in a 35 to 30 vote in 1996.
"This position I hold dear to my heart. I'm proud of this community. It's like my baby and I've watched her grow into this," says Connie. "I've watched it grow from a small area to what we have now. I think it's fantastic. I think that Sunrise Beach will become the hub of the Westside, and I'm excited that I've been a part of that. I think we'll grow by leaps and bounds in the near future."
While she has loved her job, Connie says she is now "extremely excited" to be retiring.
She already has planned a trip to Hawaii to see family to be followed by a trip to New Orleans with the group from Shrimp Daddy's that goes every year.
Page 2 of 2 - While Connie wants to travel in her retirement, she plans to keep Sunrise Beach as her home base.
"I'd love to become a snowbird - if possible," she says.
The village will host an open house from 2-4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31 at City Hall to help Connie celebrate her retirement.
Jeni Hamm, hired as deputy clerk in 2009, will become the new Sunrise Beach city clerk upon Connie's retirement. The city recently hired Jeffann Bullock as the new deputy clerk.