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Over the past three decades, Sherry Meador has served under nine village presidents. But, for the past 30 years, she has virtually been the face of village government.
Her tenure as Brownstown’s village clerk comes to an end next Friday.
Meador, who has served with about 25 village trustees during that term, has seen a number of changes during her tenure, both in the village operations and the building out of which it is operated.
The former Sherry Culbertson has lived in Brownstown for close to 30 years, moving to the village from Vandalia in July 1973 with her new husband, Chris Meador. They relocated in the home of Chris’s sister, Donna Lakin, when she moved to Branson, Mo.
About nine years later, Meador was approached by Billie Diveley, a village trustee, about serving as the village clerk.
Meador took the job, and about two years later, she was re-elected to the post, the last time an election was held to pick a village clerk. After the November 1984 election, the village board decided to make the clerk’s post an appointed one.
For the first couple of years, Meador conducted the village’s business out of her home.
Then, in April 1985, the village president at the time, Benny Miller, decided that it was time for Brownstown “to open an office,” Meador said.
A year later, renovations were made to the village hall, to enlarge the clerk’s office space, and a later renovation provided the clerk and other village workers with a remodeled area, and the village board with a new meeting room.
The latest renovation, in 2009, after the Brownstown Branch Library moved into its own building, gave the clerk her own office space, and provided both a larger board room and a kitchen area.
Over the past three decades, Meador has worked with about 25 different trustees, including Jerry Reed, Charles Fitch, Dennis Kilzer and B.J. Deal, who also served as the village president.
Other village presidents during Meador’s tenure as clerk included Jesse Miller, Cliff Motley and John Smail.
For about 11 years, Meador was the lone employee staffing the village hall.
That changed in 1993. “I told the board that I couldn’t keep up with the work in the village hall, such as handling water customers and other daily business, as well as doing all of the work associated with grants,” Meador said.
She has worked with Crawford and Associates, a Carterville-based engineering firm, on about a dozen grants for improvements to the village’s infrastructure.
“They do the work on finalizing the grant, but the village clerk has to get to them all of the information they need to complete the grant applications,” Meador said.
She made the decision to retire after checking with Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund officials.
“They told me that for me to get the most out of my retirement, I needed to retire by the end of September,” she said.
And, Meador said, “It’s time (to retire).
“It’s time for someone else to learn the ropes, someone who is more versed on today’s technology,” Meador said.
“I do have some computer experience, but I’m an old school bookkeeper,” she said.
And while she has been working on a computer, Meador has continued to document many things on paper.
“I still like to have my paper trails,” she said, “because you never know when a computer will crash.”
Serving as the village clerk allowed Meador to become acquainted with many of the village’s residents.
There are times, she said, when the village clerk – as the person charged with handling water bills and other village matters – is an unpopular person.
But, for the most part, the past 30 years of working with the people of Brownstown, as well as the village’s vendors, have been very good.
“I feel like I have made a lot of good friends here,” Meador said.