ROGERS CITY - A long-time Presque Isle County Prosecutor's Office employee was recognized for her service at a county commissioners meeting Friday.
Prosecutor Rick Steiger gave a fond farewell to Valerie Pardike, who worked as a legal secretary in his office for 36 years and 10 months. Steiger said she served the county well for that time, and he and many others wish she'd serve just a little more. After giving some statistics for 1977, the year Pardike was hired, Steiger talked about some of her accomplishments since then.
"She really is the boss, she runs that office," he said. "She trained two prosecutors ... and tried to train me, but the verdict is still out on that."
Pardike also was an excellent public servant, Steiger said, treating everyone who came into the office with respect. That included victims and the accused. She also worked hard to cut costs any way she could.
"She recognizes that county money is taxpayer money," he said, adding she'll be missed greatly.
Commissioners, her coworkers and other members of the audience gave Pardike a round of applause, and, Chairman Carl Altman gave her a gift on behalf of the board. Pardike thanked everyone and said she hated to go. At the same time, she said, she spent her career dedicated to serving the public with the idea that some day, she'd move on.
"I enjoyed working in the prosecutor's office all these years," she said at her office party afterward. "It's the kind of job where it's not a boring job, there's something different all the time."
Now that her days as a county employee are over, Pardike plans to travel with her husband, she said. She'll also have more time to spend with her two sons and their children, and on gardening and landscaping.
In other business:
* the new owner of the dam maintaining Lake Emma's water levels will get a boost to his effort to apply for a grant. Commissioners agreed to write a letter of support for Alan Janiszewski's application for a state grant to fix the dam. Janiszewski recently bought the dam from the previous owner, and has been involved with efforts to fix it since 2007. Commissioners stressed they support his efforts, but want no further financial entanglement with a project that's proved to be a contentious one. Janiszewski said he believes the grants must be applied for in increments of $100,000, and the state would fund 50 percent of the project. Of the remainder, half could come from the county and half could come from special assessment funds paid by land owners around the lake. Altman and Commissioner Steve Lang questioned whether the county needs to be involved to get the grant.
* Commissioner Mike Darga told the board a combination toilet-sink in the county jail has been fixed for $500, saving the county a roughly $2,500 bill to buy and install a new one. Lang and Commissioner Kris Sorgenfrei later said they'd like to find a way to budget for new toilets in the future.
* commissioners appointed Collette Kulik as a court magistrate so she can begin training for the position. Clerk Ann Marie Main reminded commissioners the appointment is needed before she can sign up for classes.