Retiring city treasurer Brenda Hendrickson enjoyed her 23 years working at city hall and thought the municipality had experienced plenty of progress and change since she started in 2000.
“The city’s a great place to work. The staff … in finance really pull together as a team to get things done for the city,” she said on Dec. 6 after the conclusion of the 2023 service awards luncheon at the Events Centre.
Hendrickson was one of eight retirees whom the municipality recognized, while 16 others were honoured for their continued service.
“I’ve never been one for attention, but it’s very nice to be appreciated and recognized for the years of service with the City of Moose Jaw,” she told the media afterward.
In retirement, Hendrickson hopes to travel, volunteer and pursue more rest. When asked who’s worked the longest in the finance department, she replied that it was “hands-down” director Brian Acker, who has spent nearly 40 years — if not more — with the city.
A recurring joke at the banquet has been that Acker and other finance staff have been employed for decades but never recognized for their service because the HR department allegedly caps the awards at 40 years.
It was Acker who spoke about Hendrickson’s service during the introduction of retirees. He said her duties included deputy comptroller, acting city assessor, and finishing as the city treasurer. However, her contributions are more than just what’s on her resumé.
He recalled former mayor Glenn Hagel, who valued public service and worked to thank city employees for their daily contributions.
“Because without us, you turn on your water, there is no water. Nobody picks up your garbage, nobody collects your taxes,” Acker continued. “And that’s something, Brenda, that, over the 24 years, you’ve been instrumental in revenue collection for the city. We certainly appreciate that.”
The finance director noted that, based on his math, Hendrickson likely collected over $1 billion in municipal revenue during her career.
Acker added that everyone in the department would miss her since it was easy to send her a message and ask for feedback on an idea.
“Holy moly!” Hendrickson exclaimed about the $1-billion figure after receiving her retirement plaque. “That’s a lot of money.”
The former city treasurer said she had a wonderful time working for the municipality and learned many things, while she would miss her co-workers and other city hall staff. She added that she met some “strange people” during that time, such as residents who brought urns with their pets’ ashes.
Cory Oakes, a manager in parks and recreation, next lauded retiree Bob Duchak, saying the city hired him as a temporary employee in 1981, and he held various positions in the engineering and parks and rec departments for the next eight years. In 1989, he attained a permanent position as parksman 1 arena attendant and held that until he retired this past summer.
“So, he became a very familiar face in the city arenas and our park spaces during the summertime,” said Oakes, noting working in arenas for several decades required technical knowledge, dependability, flexibility, good communication skills, problem-solving, attention to detail and initiative — which Duchak possessed.
Duchak was also patient, which he ably demonstrated during the winter while dealing with hockey-related parents and kids, Oakes continued.
“Thirty-four years of dealing with that requires a superhero badge, for sure,” the parks and rec manager joked, adding Duchak will probably enjoy retirement on his riding lawnmower without people yelling at him about ice time.
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