“I started off as the mayor’s secretary and personnel officer July 20, 1994,” said Judy Tipton, administrative assistant to the mayor and city manager and human resources director. “It’s the same job, but the titles have changed.”
Tipton served former mayor Lawrence Fields from 1994-1996, former mayor Mack Abercrombie from 1996-1999, former mayor Guin Robinson from 1999-2004, former mayor Adam Stocks from 2004-2008, former mayor Bill Hereford from 2008-2012 and current mayor Joe Funderburg from 2012 until her retirement.
“I was the one who hired her,” Fields said.
Fields said being a mayor’s secretary is not an easy job, but it is a job Tipton mastered.
“I think Judy has gone above and beyond serving the city and its residents,” he said. “She was fantastic to work with and handled the job with a lot of class and professionalism. I’m sad she is retiring in one sense, but happy for her as well. She deserves her retirement. I wish her Godspeed and pray she has a great rest of her life.”
Tipton said she served a variety of mayors who had a variety of personalities.
“I’ve done the same duties all the years I’ve been here, which entails anything and everything,” she said. “I did my best to keep things running smoothly, and had a good rapport with all of them.”
Tipton said she really enjoyed dealing with city employees and helping with their problems—being fair to each employee and treating them all the same.
“I also enjoyed meeting a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise met,” she said. “It’s been fun, sad, good and bad. I’ve met so many good people through this job.”
Tipton said municipal government is totally different from private industry.
“I was a supervisor of a business office in the private sector before taking this job,” she said. “The rules and regulations are different in local government.”
Stocks said right before he took office, Robinson described Tipton as a fiercely loyal employee to the mayor’s office.
“I think that is probably an understatement,” he said. “I know Judy resolved many issues before they even made it to the mayor’s desk. She is such a valuable asset and I don’t know if the city can ever replace her. Judy Tipton will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Hereford said t Pell City is really losing one of its greatest assets.
“Judy has been the mother hen to all the city employees for many years—including me,” he said. “She is a wonderful person and has meant a lot to me as a person. I wish her the very best in her retirement.”
Tipton said after retiring, she and her husband, Jerry, plan to travel.
“We plan to go to the beach, go to Montana and hopefully take an Alaskan cruise,” she said. “The first thing I’m going to do is disconnect my alarm clock. I plan to enjoy doing whatever I want to do when I want to do it—that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Tipton said retirement will also allow her to spend more time with family.
“I’ll be able to attend my grandkids’ sports games,” she said. “I won’t have to work and miss those games. I’ll also be able to do more leisure activities such as gardening, being outdoors and putting together jigsaw puzzles.”
Robinson said he never worked with anyone more dedicated and committed to her job than Tipton.
“Judy and I worked together for eight years, three when I was a councilman and five as mayor,” he said. “She was a consummate professional.”
Robinson said Tipton was not only the assistant to the mayor, but served as the city’s personnel director.
“Both positions require confidentiality and loyalty,” he said. “Judy demonstrated these in every situation in which we worked. She was a true public servant in every sense of the word, and the citizens of Pell City were indeed lucky she came their way.
Robinson said serving six mayors, a city manager, numerous council members, countless city employees and Pell City residents is quite a legacy.
“She had both wisdom and great instincts,” he said. “She always had my back and played a part in advising and helping with many city decisions. I would ask her opinion and knew she always had the best interests of the city at heart with her answers. I wish her well in retirement—she has certainly earned it. I think the world of her.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.