32 years and out (as a politician)!

Standing by the Mouth of the Huron River

Yet another township treasurer

I know you blog readers may think I’m totally flaky at times–one minute writing a blog a day, the next minute quitting for almost a year.  One time posting quiet meditative nature photos and the next time babbling on about politics or Smart Phones.  (Oh, wait a minute, I haven’t written that one yet.)

One friend (using that kind of behavior as evidence) once accused me of never sticking with anything.

She was only looking at one aspect of this personality, tut tut.  Some things I have stuck with for half a lifetime.  For example.  Married (just a second!, must pull out the calculator of Life for accurate reporting) for almost 38 years.  Lived in this Little House in the Big Woods for 33 years.  Worked at our little K-6 school in one of the farthest remote corners of the U.P. since 1988.

To contemplate a never-end circle

Married a long time

AND–and here we’re getting to the meat of this blog–have been a politician for almost 32 years.  (A politician, you gasp!  Not our Kathy?  One of THOSE?)  But, yes.  She has been one of “those” for longer than her youngest child has existed on the planet.

Just wanting to report to you, since I’m on a roll with political blogs, that this career is coming to an end!  I am no longer running for township treasurer.  Those days will be kaput, come November.  Roger, over and out.

I have loved this role in many ways over the past few decades.  Such a fun opportunity to help shape the community.  To listen deeply to what people are trying to communicate.  To try to figure out how to convey viewpoints which may be different from others.

Gosh, what a training ground!  One sees how so many folks express so many different opinions.  One has to learn to be brave and say what one really thinks at times.  One has to follow one’s heart, after first figuring out what one’s heart is attempting to express.

I loved collecting taxes for 32 years.  Other treasurers have griped about fights with taxpayers, but I have rarely argued.  Instead, have felt deep empathy and–at times–prayed that land owners would come up with the money needed to pay their taxes.  I have never viewed myself as a “tax collector”; rather as someone who will listen with a gentle heart, attempting to understand.  And so very few have bitched over the years!  Maybe a handful, if that…

The spiral of life goes round and round and round

The spiral of life goes round and round and round

We live in a tiny township, only 460 folks who vote.  I put out the word as 2015 ended:  you all need to find a new township treasurer.  I’m not running again.  And, how lucky!, someone came forth to run for office.

Blog readers, be kind to your township treasurers.  They are taking on a thankless job–and maybe praying for you at times.

Thanks, John K., for your kind words and inspiring this blog.

Sincerely,  32 years and out next November.  OK, don’t get too excited, Kathy.  You still have seven months to go.


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in April, 2016 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to 32 years and out (as a politician)!

  1. Carol says:

    It is not that you don’t stick to things, it is that you are so well rounded, with many more interests than hours in a day. That’s surely what it is.

  2. Dawn says:

    You are going to enjoy retirement from this one aspect of your life. I know you have many other parts that will expand to fill the time. Congratulations!

  3. Brenda says:

    Congratulations on the upcoming retirement from your job! I can see you filling that time with a wide variety of activities…some active, some contemplative and maybe even some playful. Enjoy every minute! And thank you for all those years of service to your community!

  4. Barbara Kass says:

    As one public servant to another, thank you for your service and enjoy retirement! Maybe you’ll finally find time to blog . . .

  5. debyemm says:

    What a LUCKY township to have you – someone who will listen with a gentle heart and even pray for a taxpayer not to lose their land. You are one in a million but maybe the next one will continue your legacy of kindness while doing what must be done to keep things that most people take for granted – going !! Happy Retirement !!

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, thank you SO much. I have really cared for this township. I would think that other township treasurers would think the same. Perhaps they don’t reveal their heart as much. P.S. Am not retiring completely–am keeping the school job for now. But thank you for your kind words. I do appreciate them.

  6. Carol Ferenc says:

    What a dedicated public servant you’ve been, Kathy! I have no doubt you’ll find some creative new ways to fill that free time. Enjoy!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Carol, my new friend! Well, I don’t know how much I’ve succeeded, but have TRIED diligently! Am kind of wondering what will fill the gap…but, then again, have seven months to wonder before the job actually ends. 🙂

  7. John k. says:

    So many people coming and going in the county this year. I do so hope this isn’t a harbinger of further moves on your part. People like you are few and far between. You are an asset to the community and a large part of its conscience.

  8. Fountainpen says:

    Love the wedding veil!!!!!!!!

  9. sybil says:

    Your system is very different in the U.S. — I find it quite a surprise that y’all elect your tax collectors. I hope the person who follows you is as kind-hearted as you were in the job.

  10. Gerry says:

    I’ll bet you’ll feel really good next winter when it’s John K getting the tax bills out while you sit by the fire and blog . . . or open the door and run out into the snow. Happy semi-retirement!

    • Kathy says:

      Only seven more months to go, Gerry. Can’t wait…but want to continue doing a good job until then. (By the way John K did inspire this blog, but he’s not running for election.) I appreciate your good words of encouragement. It’s been many years of getting those tax bills out.

  11. Great post, Kathy. It’s funny. Now you’ll need to find another civic duty of some thing or the other to perform. Just can’t stand idly by and do nothing for the 460 folks in your neck of the woods.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you enjoyed the humor, Yvonne. It was kind of fun writing this yesterday. But really? I have do some other kind of civic duty?? Yikes. And here I was thinking this might mean just sitting back and resting on my laurels…. grin…

  12. klb9037 says:

    Well done, Kathy! I have a lot of respect for people who serve their community as treasurers. Especially for over 30 years! I am curious, tho. How has the job changed during your tenure? Has the number of taxpaying land-owners increased or decreased over that time? How about the taxes themselves? Are you collecting a lot more than you did when you started or has your area of the U.P. escaped some of the madness?
    I rather imagine that leaving your post will be bittersweet. I’m betting that you’ll be missed!


    • Kathy says:

      Hi Kevin, yes, that would have been a much longer blog to put all that in. Let me see if I can *briefly* answer your questions. The job has changed tremendously! Back in the 80’s it was all pen-and-paper accounting. Everything was done without the benefit (and challenges) of a computer. It took a lot longer to do many tasks, but less time to do others.

      The taxpaying land-owners have increased over the years, as well as the SEV and assessed values. I am collecting a lot more over time. (No the U.P. has not escaped the “madness” although it’s on a lesser scale than, say, downstate Michigan.)

      You are right about the bittersweet nature; it will be interesting to see in about a year how I will feel about it. I have enjoyed collecting taxes much more than making sometimes tense political decisions at meetings. But that’s where a lot of personal growth has come, too. Thanks for asking!

  13. Good for you! Enough is enough. Though it sounds to me like you are really good at sticking to things!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, I know you understand small-town (small island?) politics. It can be a thankless job, but it can also be so rewarding. I do think I can be quite good at sticking to some things. For the long term. But we humans are such contradictions, too. So there’s other parts of life that maybe we like to run “on the seat of our pants” or whatever they call just being free to change.

  14. Val says:

    I already knew you were a tax collector, Kathy – learnt that about you, oh – ages ago! I wish we had tax collectors here in the UK like you but, alas, our tax system is very, very different – no personable or otherwise ‘hands on’ approach, just a cheque in the post or something done by card or online. And as for your fickleness – you and me both, but we both know it’s not as simple as not sticking with things, our moods change like the wind – but that wind usually hits the same patch of land at some other time, and so we return. Hugs.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Val, or is it afternoon for you already? It is really interesting to learn about other systems of tax collecting. A lot of people simply send a check here, as well. We haven’t got an on-line system of payment yet, although I hope one will be developed in the near future. I think people like the personal touch, although lots of people just send their check without any personal dealings.

      Yes, the way our moods can change with the wind. I like it that way, although it can make it maddening to try to explain it to others. There is a big part of this personality that enjoys being a recluse, loves the solitary introspective life. There is another part that adores being creative, up-front and engaged.

      Just read a blogger this morning who was chastised (??!!) for not being as present as in the past and not regularly blogging. This woman is now working hard at dozens of projects, including having a small baby. She was so patient and loving to her reader, trying to explain why she wasn’t able to be as present. I wanted to shake my head and say: don’t worry about explaining, just be true to your heart! But, I think in explaining to her reader she WAS being true to her heart, articulating to herself and others her vulnerability, her busyness, her changeability.

      • Val says:

        Mmmm… I used to go to great lengths to explain things to people – mostly people who didn’t understand what motivated me or prevented me from being motivated, but I gave up because basically those sort of people and I will never be able to connect because they can’t empathise with me. Your blogger, though, obviously has that empathy because she tries to connect even though she doesn’t need to – but as you say, she was being true to her heart by doing so. I’m always appalled by people who chastise others for something that is different from themselves or their own way of doing things. (And let’s hope I haven’t been a hypocrite!) People have such busy lives, too – and are entitled to take their time or be absent, whatever they need to live.

        I’m the same as you with those moods.

        It is indeed afternoon here – currently 4.07pm. 🙂

  15. “To listen deeply to what people are trying to communicate. To try to figure out how to convey viewpoints which may be different from others.”

    How much I aspire to this….and how often I fall short!

    What a wonderful way to serve the community.

    • Kathy says:

      It’s always a work in progress, dear Lunar. A work of a lifetime…to serve our community, ourselves, our families, our friends…learning, listening, listening some more… Thank you for your words this morning.

  16. The community will miss you and your wonderful representation as town treasurer. I wonder why you’ve decided to leave the position? I do know that you’re an extremely ‘stick-to-it’ person and maybe even a ‘stick-it-to-you’ person if the situation warrants it. GOOD FOR YOU!!!
    And I’m SOOOOOOOOOO glad you’re back here. xoxo

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, my dear friend. I do have that stick-to-it-ness, but there’s another side that is more wild and free. Hopefully they balance each other out! I appreciate you commenting. This “retirement” has been a long time coming…

  17. Kathy — I love what you wrote:

    “One has to learn to be brave and say what one really thinks at times. One has to follow one’s heart, after first figuring out what one’s heart is attempting to express.”

    Absolutely love it!

  18. christinelaennec says:

    Excellent blog post on so many levels. I echo what others have said, that your community has been extremely lucky to have such a faithful and compassionate servant. As for changeability, I always find it very heartening when people (bloggers, other people) do what is best for them rather than bow to pressure from others. So thank you for being you!

    • Kathy says:

      Christine, thank you for your kind words. And have been thinking a lot about the perceived pressure from others versus following our inner roads. Am not always successful at that, but do want to continue attempting it. Thanks again!

  19. Tax collector job well done, Kathy! We all need to try something new from time to time. I love the wedding picture of you – what a lovely keepsake. Long marriages are remarkable, especially when two people manage to evolve together and continue to renew their friendship and love over many years.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Barbara, for the kind words about the job. It’s been a long haul, so worthwhile, and yet now it feels time to move on. Glad you enjoyed the wedding photo. Was looking in the file for pictures to post on this blog and stumbled upon it from a long-ago anniversary blog post. And, yes, it’s remarkable when two people can stay in the same canoe, metaphorically speaking, throughout all the challenges of the years.

  20. I Wilkerson says:

    You know my parents (repeatedly) told me I didn’t stick to things after I quit organ lessons at the age of 9. (My elderly teacher kept falling asleep during my lessons and it was traumatic to keep having to wake him up). If anything this made me sometimes stick to things I should have left much sooner. Clearly you do not have a problem here and I hope (at least some of) your community is thankful for all your service (which is extra important in a small town).

    • Kathy says:

      Inger, our stick-to-itivness (is that a word?) is such an interesting subject. In 3rd grade Mrs. Story (yes, that was her name) taught us this poem: When a job is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done, be the winner great or small, do it well or not at all.” Goodness! That would put a lot of pressure on a person. I think our inner compass is the best guide when to stay and when to leave. Your inner compass perhaps wasn’t recognized well enough at that tender age.

  21. Lori says:

    Hiya Kathy. It sounds like you found the job rewarding, and why you stuck with it all those years. Sometimes, you just gotta retire! 😉 You and I tend to have similar lives. I’m not a politician, but not too long ago, I posted a blog confessing that my dad is one.

    He was/is not the township treasurer, but the township chairman. He, of course, is much older than you, and he is finding it difficult to retire. You see, township chairman has not been his only political job. He’s had many of them over the years. A lot of people (locally) count on him, and they keep asking him to stay.

    He told me the other day that this is his last year. He won’t be doing political work in 2017. I hope he doesn’t get pulled back in. He deserves to relax and enjoy his golden years.

    I didn’t mean to make it about us, but I share this because I support your retirement from treasurer (and find it interesting how we have similar experiences, except we may have opposite party affiliations, which doesn’t matter to me). Sometimes it’s important to move on and find other fulfilling endeavors. Blessings to you.

    • Kathy says:

      I loved reading your blog post about your dad and public speaking, Lori. It is great that you wrote it! How interesting that both he and I are backing out for 2017. I SWEAR I’ll stay backed out (please, Universe, she begged.) It will be interesting to see what your dad does. His love for politics and the energy he gets may prove more important to him than relaxation. There are a few people like that. My friend’s dad refused to retire and continued working until his deathbed in his 90’s!!

      Are we opposite political parties? I may have kind of got a whiff on that, but usually ignore it. It’s so easy to put people into categories in my own mind, so am often trying to forget facts like that or figure it’s only a small part of a person. Or figure that my mind really has no clue what that means and it will only come up with something shallow if it’s allowed to box someone into a category.

  22. lom says:

    You are a butterfly Kathy flitting from one place to another and back again, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  23. lucindalines says:

    What a thought, politicians praying for their constituents. If only our Congress could feel that sort of compassion for others. This is love, real love and for that your township must treasure you, pun, pun. OK so I didn’t intend to do that, but when it came out I had to point at the obvious. Good for you and good luck with your future endeavors. I am guessing it will include more pictures and interesting blogs. At least we can hope!!!

    • Kathy says:

      What a nice thing to say, Lucinda, although I don’t think hardly anyone in the township is even aware that I’ve said prayers for them! Love the treasurer/treasure pun. Good one! See how unexpected that was? 😉

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