SIDNEY — After 31 years of working for the Shelby County Courts, Gold, former Shelby County Municipal Court clerk/court administrator, put in her last day on the job Friday.
In conjunction with her retirement, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, was officially declared Bonnie Gold day in the city of Sidney by Mayor Mike Barhorst.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing. And I’m sorry to be leaving the court because we have such a great staff, and Judge (Duane) Goettemoeller has been great to work for. And before him, Judge (Donald) Luce was wonderful to work for. I’ve worked for some fantastic judges over the years,” Gold said of retiring, while holding back tears. “But I also have four grandchildren that I would just love to spend more time with.”
Gold’s career with the courts began “kind of by accident” in 1988 when she was offered a job by then Chief Deputy Clerk Judy Snodgrass to work in the title office of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court. At the time, the Sidney native had gotten to know employees at the courthouse when regularly coming in for her job with another company to obtain public records.
“Judy Snodgrass approached me, she was the chief deputy of the clerk at that time, and said, ‘Hey, we have a job opening. Do you want to come work for us,’” Gold recalled.
She later started helping out in the Common Pleas’s legal office and soon found herself bouncing back and forth between the two offices whenever needed. Then upon on the retirement of Clerk Barb Geuy in 1995, Snodgrass was promoted to clerk, and Gold was promoted as chief deputy clerk of the legal office and the title office.
She remained at the Common Pleas Court until 2006 when she left to become clerk/court administrator for the Municipal Court under Judge Donald Luce.
Gold admitted when transitioning from the Common Pleas Court to the Municipal Court, she had to figure out what was needed in her new job description.
“We had a staff that was highly trained. And they knew exactly what their job was, I just didn’t know what mine was,” Gold said with a laugh.
The pace of cases at the Municipal Court is much faster and a higher volume than in the Commons Pleas Court, she explained. Gold confessed it was quite an adjustment at first, but she had a “few really good people” to help assist in any way.
“Karen Goffena (Municipal Court’s former clerk who moved to a court in another city) was a God-send. And Judge Luce gave me the freedom to figure things out and do it my way. He was very easy going and down to Earth and would answer questions,” she explained. “And then Judge Goettemoeller came in (four years later) and he has been great to work for too. He was very open to learning how we do things and wanted to be a little more involved with things, which was great. And to understand how and why we do things the way we do, and is it the best way to do it.”
Gold, a graduate of Sidney High School, learned on the job, but after coming to work for the Municipal Court, she graduated from the National Center for State Courts in Columbus to become a certified court manager. At the end of the three-year program, Gold said, graduates are certified to work in any court.
“Being court administrator is something that I never thought would happen for me. You know with a high school education, those types kinds of jobs usually go to people who have college degrees. I think that was probably my proudest personal accomplishment,” Gold said when reflecting on her career.
Municipal Court Judge Duane Goettemoeller praised Gold’s work, and said their time working together was a joy.
“She moved this court into the 20th century, and the 21st century is where she ended up. She’s done so with dedication, sincerity and integrity. She’s just been wonderful to me,” Goettemoeller said of Gold at her retirement party Friday afternoon.
Barhorst reiterated Goettemoeller’s sentiment about Gold’s character. When presenting the proclamation Friday, Barhorst described Gold’s “tireless dedication, service and professionalism” and noted that she worked hard to “ensure all individuals coming to the court were treated with dignity and respect.”
“Your reputation for integrity, honesty and true public service has always proceeded you,” Goettemoeller said when thanking Gold after her proclamation was read at her retirement party.
Cathy Johnson, Goettemoeller’s executive assistant, said Friday was a sad day because they were losing someone with a lot of experience and knowledge.
“Everyone is happy for her to go on, but we are sad for us,” Johnson said.
Tony Kremer, the new clerk/court administrator, said, “Bonnie and I have been working for the past 18 months together and I’ve really enjoyed our time together. I’ve learned so much from Bonnie. She has been patient with me and diligent in making sure I have the skills I need to take over.”
Gold said she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and her aging parents. She also looks forward to traveling more when her husband Bill’s work schedule allows for it, and working on her honey-do list at home. She and Bill enjoy taking walks along the river, and expect to do more of that as well.
“I’m very happy for her, but jealous because she is younger so it seems odd,” Bill Gold said with a laugh about his wife retiring. “Been looking forward to it for a while. It is bittersweet though, because this has been a big chunk of her life.”
“It’s going to seem strange to not get up early every morning,” Bonnie said, noting she had already deleted her daily morning alarm on her phone.
When asked if there was anything left to add, she said, “I suppose I just really hope the people that work here will look back and say I did something and made it better.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.