Hall reflects on tenure as retirement looms

LINDEN — Cheryl Hall will welcome her sixth mayor to City Hall in just two weeks win newly-elected Charles Moore takes over Linden’s highest office. But Moore will be the first mayor of someone else’s tenure as Hall has announced her intent to retire from her city administrator post.

“I will miss the people I have worked with over the last 17 and a half years. They were my family away from home,” Hall said of what she will miss the most when she walks away from her post in January. “I’ve always had a goal. I wanted to retire when I was 50. I’ll be 51 next month. That was my long-term goal, to be financially able to do that.”

Hall began her career with the city in 1995 as a utility clerk. She became City Clerk in 1996 and advanced to City Administrator in 1999. However, since Dec. 2005, Hall has held both the City Clerk and City Administrator, shouldering a considerable portion of the workload for Marengo’s county seat.

“I agreed to stay on until probably the end of January. This would get through one of the busiest times for city,” Hall said. “In two weeks, the auditors will be in to conduct the 2012 audit for both the city and the utility board. Then, in November, we send out business license renewals, then year-end W2s and year-end tax reports. This will also give time for them to replace me and I can train someone for about two months. No one at the city wants that responsibility, so it will have to be someone new hired. And I wish them good luck. I enjoyed what I did and there were never two days the same and you never get bored.”

Hall, who is also a certified court magistrate, pointed to her streak of flawless audits, a pair of bond refinances and a sterling Standard and Poor’s rating for the utility board as the unquestioned highlights of her tenure with the city.

“I had 17 flawless audits since I have worked for the city. I actually do the accounting for both the city and the utility board, all accounts payable, payroll and H/R. No one realizes it, but the city and utility board have 15 checking accounts that are reconciled each month,” Hall said. “The one thing that I am most proud of was the A+ rating from Standard & Poor for the Utility Board, the fact that there was not another utility board in the state that has ever received that rating for the size of the system. I worked with the our bonding company and bond attorneys off and on for three to five years, waiting on the right time to refinance the two bond issues that we have. We timed them right and last fall we were able to refinance the city’s 2001 bond issue and saved approximately $500,000 over a 15-year period in payments. Then the utility board, the first of this year, refinanced its bond, saving a total of $250,000 in payments over a 12-year period. The A+ rating for the utility board was achieved while being rated for this refinancing.”