Grundy County’s longest serving County Clerk and Recorder, Lana Phillips, will retire in December 2014.
Phillips announced her plan to retire after her current term in a press release Wednesday. She was first elected in 1976, after she had already served as chief deputy in the office. She began with the county clerk’s office in December 1974.
“I know I’ll miss it, getting up everyday and going to work,” she said Wednesday. “No two days are the same. It’s never been boring.”
The voters of Grundy County elected her 10 times and she said in the release “she has been humbled by their support and encouragement throughout the years.”
As clerk, Phillips is the Grundy County Election Authority and has handled 82 elections to date. Her accomplishments include helping the county move from paper ballots to punch card balloting, and ultimately ushering in accuvote and touch-screen equipment to tabulate voting results.
Countless election judges have served under her and, in 2002, Phillips partnered with local high schools to train student election judges to serve alongside their seasoned counterparts. She remains grateful for their commitment to the electoral process.
“From the very beginning, I pledged to strive for the highest level of professionalism in this most important county office, and with the help of my dedicated staff, led by my Chief Deputy Kay Olson, we have done so,” she said in the release.
“Through our efforts, we have provided cost-effective and comprehensive government to the citizens of Grundy County, while ensuring the honesty, accuracy and integrity of each and every election.”
She continued, “No other office in county government interacts to such a great degree in the life of every citizen, and handles such a wide variety of duties and responsibilities, as set forth in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. It has been said we take you from the cradle to the grave.”
“Throughout the years,”Phillips noted, “I have had the pleasure of serving with other dedicated elected officials, such as Treasurer Marcy Miller and Circuit Clerk Karen Slattery. There have also been several county board members, including Don Neushwander Sr. and former Chairman Leonard Bols.”
She said they understood and recognized the need to have county offices staffed and equipped to meet the needs of all citizens, sometimes with consequences from their own party. Their help has been immeasurable, she added.
“I also worked in a bi-partisan effort with township supervisors and their boards, as well as schools, municipalities, a variety of special districts, such as library, park, fire, drainage and sanitary, and officials that serve at the state and national level,” Phillips said.
In retirement, Phillips said she plans to do more traveling, but will continue to live in the area. She looks forward to spending time with family and friends who are also retired.
“I have enjoyed the many rewards and challenges that have accompanied this position,” she said.
She ended with what has been the theme throughout her service: “Be a voter, and do what more than half the world’s population only wishes they could do.”