Garner Cleveland Record

Longtime town clerk to retire Friday

Judy Bass has been Garner’s town clerk since 2001.
Judy Bass has been Garner’s town clerk since 2001. 2011 Raleigh News & Observer file photo

Judy Bass, who became the town clerk in 2001, will retire on Friday after 30 years working for the Town of Garner.

She’s always been the go-to and do-it-all person on the staff, many people say.

“When people call here it’s usually when they need help,” Bass said. “Often times people will call us for directions to, say, White Oak. Some times it’s almost like an information desk.”

“I think it’s a job that has a lot of fulfillment.”

But Bass says she knew it was time to retire. She recently turned 62 in August.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m retiring,” she said.

Bass said she went on vacation with her family during her birthday and came back to work and made the decision.

“I just kind of decided that was it,” Bass said. “People have always said you’ll know when you’re ready, and that week I knew.”

“It comes a time when you just need to do things for yourself.”

A native of Raleigh, Bass came to Garner in 1982. She started working for the town in the Planning Department in 1985. There she met her husband, planning director Brad Bass.

She left in August of 1990 for six months and came back to the same desk and same job.

In 1997, she moved over to administration and soon graduated to town clerk in 2001. She’s served ever since, answering phone calls, providing directions, compiling town council agendas, taking meeting minutes and organizing schedules.

Bass said she often thinks about what her last day will be like.

“I think about it a lot,” Bass, 62, said. “It seems nowhere near 30 years. It seems like just yesterday and its been a good ride. I loved my job in planning and I love my job here, and I think it is an honor to work in this position.”

Bass said she learned something new every day. Since she first started in 1985, she seen Garner grow and change, particularly with the number of restaurants and parks.

Bass said she isn’t sure there were any parks when she arrived and there were only a couple of restaurants. Now, Garner has Lake Benson Park and White Deer Park. White Oak is booming and restaurants seem to pop up very often.

“Garner is developing more of a healthy life style,” Bass said. “And I’m all about sidewalks.”

She joked whenever she hears council member Gra Singleton talk about wanting a sidewalk in a council meeting, she quietly says to herself “yes, we do!”

Bass has worked under three town managers and three mayors in Garner including current manager Hardin Watkins and Mayor Ronnie Williams.

Williams said Bass is the “cement that holds the whole operation together.”

“Judy has always gone beyond what is required of her,” he said. “We have laughed and cried over losing friends and relatives and we shared in the joy of spoiling grandkids then sending them home. Darn right I am going to miss her and so will the citizens of Garner.”

Assistant Town Manager Rodney Dickerson agreed that the citizens and staff will miss her.

“Just having her around,” Dickerson said. “She’s a good person, very caring. She cares about everybody and speaks her mind when she needs to. So we’ll miss her.”

Bass said the most rewarding thing she’s ever been part of was being on the committee to help get the Garner Veteran’s Memorial started. Under Faye Gardner’s leadership, Garner raised $500,000 to construct one of the biggest memorial sites in the region. Gardner died a couple of weeks ago.

Bass said she’ll miss putting the council agendas together, knowing that what she puts together will be what elected officials take action on.

Bass said she plans to do things she isn’t otherwise able to do while working.

Bass has two children and three grandchildren. She plans to clean out the closets, do more yard work, cook more and visit her retired friends at the beach.

She also wants to visit her grandchildren who live in South Carolina.

“I’m just ready to finish it up and move on,” she said.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland