After 26 years serving the city of Kenai, City Clerk Carol Freas is retiring.
“I don’t know the city of Kenai without Carol,” said councilman Terry Bookey at the council’s June 1 meeting.
Freas has served as city clerk for 21 years. Her last day on the job will be June 30.
City Manager Rick Koch described her as a capable, dedicated employee.
“(She) has just shouldered a tremendous load for the city without complaint and has just done a great job,” Koch said.
Freas attends every council meeting, dutifully taking notes, providing information and making sure that things run smoothly.
But her favorite part of the job, she said, has been serving the public.
Freas said she has enjoyed helping people find information, coordinating various city efforts, like elections, and helping streamline different processes.
In 21 years, she has seen many projects all the way through — like work at the cemetery, or the recent effort to make the city’s voting process more friendly to absentee voters by accepting electronic ballots.
Koch, who has worked with Freas for the past six years, said she’s vital to running the city’s elections.
“Certainly every election is a big job,” he said.
During her tenure, Freas has seen many changes in the city, from infrastructure to technology.
“When I started here, we were using word processing machines,” she said.
Now she takes notes on a yellow legal pad during council meetings while running the microphones and recording system, and has seen the city progress through a variety of computers and software programs.
There’s also been an increase in infrastructure in the last two decades. The city has created new parks, built new buildings, paved roads, added water and sewer lines, Freas said.
What stands out more is the staff. For much of her time with the city, Freas said she worked with the same group of people. Then over the last few years, they started to retire.
“We were quite a team,” Freas said. “There’s still a lot of teamwork in the city.”
That’s one part of the job she’ll miss in July, when she doesn’t have to be at City Hall everyday.
“Working with colleagues and working with the public, ’cause that’s what we’re here for,” she said.
And she’ll miss knowing what is going on in the city. There isn’t much she doesn’t know about the city right now.
“Now I’m going to the other side,” she said.
What’s next for Freas?
“I have dandelions to dig out of my yard,” she said.
In other words, she’ll be retired.
And she was quick to note that she hasn’t done it alone.
“Thanks to the community and the support I’ve had over the years from council and fellow employees,” Freas said.
The council held a work session Thursday to discuss replacing Freas. At its June 1 meeting, the council asked Bookey, Mayor Pat Porter, and councilman Ryan Marquis to work on a contract with a consultant to help with the process.