When the month of June ends, the city of Waxahachie will bid adieu and bon voyage to three City Hall veterans who have decided to retire.
July 29 will be the last day for receptionist Glenda Sikes, her husband and senior public works inspector John Sikes, and assistant city secretary Elaine Prater.
At a luncheon held last week in their honor, a common thread among the three emerged as it was revealed that all have begun making travel plans.
Soon after their last days at the city, John and Glenda will leave for Durango, Colo., with their grandchildren, while Elaine and her husband will take off for South Dakota.
However, the Sikes are already looking forward to future trips, John said.
“We’ve got Branson (Mo.) in the fall, then we’re going to be going to Georgia, and that’ll take care of the year,” he said, adding, “After that, we’d like to go up on the West Coast.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of traveling.”
The Sikeses have also thought about taking a trip up to New England to see the fall colors, John said, saying they’ll make good use of their travel trailer.
Even with their travel plans, all three say they’ll miss certain aspects of their jobs.
John said he’ll miss the “the daily challenge of trying to give the city a bang for its buck, making sure the contractors are doing what they should be doing.”
As a senior public works inspector, John said his job was “to watch out and make sure the city’s getting what it’s paying for,” a role he played in projects with a combined cost of more than $20 million at the wastewater treatment and water treatment plants.
For their part, Glenda and Elaine said they’re going to miss the people most of all.
“These are all my kids,” Glenda said. “I mean, I’m so much older than most of them, these are mine and Elaine’s kids, and we’re going to have to come back and check on them.”
While Elaine said she’ll miss the people she’s worked with during the past 24 years, she won’t miss “getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning, getting to work at 8 o’clock, working all day and then working in the evening.”
After the 29th, Elaine said she’ll have several projects to work on at her home, including “lots of yard work and lots of cleaning out to do,” in addition to taking care of her mother, her husband and their three dogs.
The trio will be greatly missed at City Hall, their colleagues said.
“The way Waxahachie is right now with Bob (Sokoll) retiring, it’s kind of just a natural progression, but it is really difficult to see those three go,” City Manager Paul Stevens said, saying, “Watching Elaine and Nancy (Ross, city secretary), it was kind of like M*A*S*H with Col. Potter and Radar.
“It just seemed like sometimes Elaine would know what Nancy needed before Nancy did,” Stevens said, noting that Glenda’s experience and manner will be missed greatly.
“She’s just so pleasant and knew where to direct people, even if what they were asking about something the city didn’t handle,” he said.
Similarly, John “was a godsend to the Public Works Department because of his attention to detail,” Stevens said. “It was just amazing to have somebody with his experience working for us.”
While their abilities were important, more important were their personalities, the city manager said, noting how well the three interact with everyone they meet and work with.
“They are all going to be extremely missed,” he said.
Their retirements won’t be the only ones the city sees during the next few months. Ross retires in late September, marking the end of a career spanning more than three decades.
Ross first came on board at the city May 10, 1971, becoming acting city secretary in 1972. During her tenure, the city’s population has more than doubled, rising from 13,700 to 28,400 today.
Replacing Ross will be former Waxahachie municipal court clerk Lori Saunders, who is training with Ross so as to be prepared when she takes over in October.
At the municipal court, Saunders is being replaced by Tammy Atchison.
E-mail Anthony at Anthony.Trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com