Clinton FO to retire

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — When Peg Edwards was appointed the Clinton Township fiscal officer in 1993 to fill the unexpired term of John Laws, who resigned when he was elected a county commissioner, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was a fellow employee at Star Bank at the time who suggested that she would be a good fit for the job.

“Joe DeWeese said, ‘You ought to see about that,’” Edwards said. Elected in her own right during another five election cycles, Edwards will retire March 31 after 23 years of township service.

“I’m 74. I’d be 78 (if I served another term). I just thought it was time,” she said.

Elmer Crusey, Bill Fry and Jim Fultz were trustees when she began her tenure. Current trustees are Frank Mariano, Tom Kinninger and Jim Gaier.

A township fiscal officer functions as secretary and treasurer for the township. Edwards kept minutes of two monthly meetings, prepared payroll, paid bills, made deposits and kept the books.

“Every penny has to be appropriated” and accounted for, she said. The state audits the township every two years. That audit is available to the public, but Edwards has never had anyone ask to see it.

In the beginning, the job “was a little overwhelming because I had done bookkeeping, but it’s a different setup,” she said. “I had never used a computer before.” The biggest change she’s seen through the years is due to technology. Now computer programs do much of the work for her.

Edwards has enjoyed the flexibility of the job. A year-end report takes a lot of time to complete, but otherwise, as long as material is ready for the trustee meetings, Edwards has been permitted to choose her hours.

“And I’ve just enjoyed the guys a lot. I’ve always enjoyed the men I’ve worked with. They let you do your work and if you do it well and on time, everything’s OK,” she said.

Former trustee and now County Commissioner Bob Guillozet and current Trustee Frank Mariano push praise right back at Edwards.

“Peg’s always been a very enjoyable person to be around,” Guillozet said. “We had a lot of good times. She’s an all-around nice lady.” Guillozet was a trustee for seven years.

Mariano, now in his second term, lauded Edwards’s professionalism.

“We’re certainly going to miss her expertise and her personality when she’s retired,” he said. “She’s weathered quite a few township trustees with various personalities, as well as things that the state requires in terms of audits and bookkeeping and having to get it all right. That takes a special kind of talent. I’d much rather have the trustee’s job than the fiscal officer’s job, because we need to know a fifth of what she needs to know.”

Guillozet appreciated her assistance when he was first elected.

“When you’re a new trustee, you always have questions. Peg was always there, ready and willing to help,” he said.

Edwards also served as secretary of the Shelby County Township Association for two terms. In that role, she planned turkey dinners, fish fries and four meetings a year.

An avid reader — especially of mysteries — and a scrapbooker, she has not made specific plans yet for retirement.

“It’s a little scary,” she admitted. She will visit her daughter, Stacey Edwards, in Texas, and son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Becky Edwards, in Florida. She’s enjoying a Bible study group in which she participates.

Susan E. Sekas will take over in the township office in April.

Another retiring fiscal officer who has given more than than two decades of service is Sherri Huelskamp, of Perry Township. She will be replaced by Sally N. Keener. Sekas and Keener ran unopposed and were elected in November.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.