Fort Myers City Clerk Marie Adams
45 years on the job, hired in 1972, plans to photograph birds
Fort Myers City Clerk Marie Adams retired in May. Based on averages, Adams had been at her desk about 90,000 hours before leaving after 45 years. Gulf & Main asked Marie Adams about her time with the city and what she'll do next.
Gulf & Main: Could you share a bit of your story? Marie Adams: While visiting Florida, I made application through a local employment agency with the thought that I would get a job for a few months. After the interview at the employment agency, I was told they had the perfect job for me at city hall. When I arrived at city hall there were eight people interviewing for the position. After my interview, I was hired and started working that afternoon.
G&M: Is clerkship in your DNA? MA: Yes. When I was very young I would make indexes for everything. I joined 4-H when I was 8 years old and immediately wanted to prepare the minutes of the meetings. Unfortunately, I held every office but secretary and never did have the opportunity to prepare the minutes. I guess the old adage holds true of being careful about what you wish for.
G&M: What’s the clerk’s role? MA: Supervising the employees in the clerk’s office and at the Fort Myers cemetery. Attends all public meetings of city council and ensures all documents presented to city council are correct and that the minutes are accurately recorded. The city clerk is the custodian of the city seal, attests the signature of the mayor, custodian of city records―with the exception of the police department― administers oaths, [is the] qualifying officer for city elections, provides for a records management program, maintains the city code, issues contracts, prepares ordinances and resolutions, publishes the weekly public notice for meetings subject to the Sunshine Law, oversees compliance with request for public records. When I first met Sara Nell Gran, the lady who was appointed city clerk the year I was born, the first question she asked me was, “Are you preserving and protecting the records?”
G&M: Things have changed in your time? MA: Since I began working for the city in 1972, we moved from the city hall on Heitman Street to the city hall on Second Street, the city went from at-large voting for city council members to single member district voting; the form of government was changed by referendum from mayor/council to council/manager.
G&M: Any advice to the next generation of clerks?
MA: Recognizing the importance of preserving the records that are the history of the city―treating everyone the same. G&M: You’re a recognized wildlife photographer. You will pursue that in retirement? MA: Yes, I will definitely spend more time photographing birds.