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Bedford reversion prompts retirement for two longtime public servants

By Tim Saunders, tsaunders@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 27 2013 06:05:45 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 11:15:27 PM EDT

When the city of Bedford becomes a town on Monday, several jobs will be eliminated. Two of those positions are held by longtime public servants, who are using the occasion to retire.

BEDFORD, Va. -

Valerie Wilson is starting a new chapter.

"It's exciting. Facing retirement is exciting,” Valerie Wilson said.

She's giving up her job as Bedford's Commissioner of Revenue. It's an office she's worked in for 32 years.

"It's hard to let go when you've been in the office for that long,” Wilson said.

Leaving isn't really a choice.

Both her job and her office are being eliminated.

"It's hard to think that it's not going to be here any longer,” Wilson said.

When the city of Bedford reverts to a town on Monday, functions like tax collection and voter registration will be handled by the county.

That means Randi Herrick's job is going away, too.

"It's a life changing experience and I honestly don't know what to expect for the next phase of my life,” Randi Herrick, voter registrar, said.

Facing retirement is a big change for anyone.

These women are having to juggle their emotions with the unusual task of shutting down their office.

They've spent the last year organizing 45 years worth of paperwork, making sure everything runs smoothly when their responsibilities are transferred to the county.

"Closing an office that's been open since the 60's means there's a huge accumulation of records that have to be taken care of and we've done that," Herrick said.

Wilson has a connection to the very beginnings of her office.

She was hired by the city's first commissioner of revenue, Joe Saunders, who happens to be this reporter's grandfather.

"In 1968 he established this office and, on the other end of the spectrum, I'm shutting it down,” Wilson said.

Their jobs will cease to exist Friday, but life goes on and both women are looking toward the future.

"I will have a life after this, but this has been a very important part of my life,” Herrick said.

Wilson may continue her career of public service.

She's thinking about running for county commissioner of revenue in 2015.