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Richard Wiggans

Job title: Director of finance for Albemarle County

Resides in: Crozet

Has worked for the county for: 5 years

Best of times: The opportunities to help people directly. “Much of what the financial department does is administrative, so those times that we get to render a direct service is nice. Raising funds for schools, resolving payroll issues, helping senior citizens get their tax break, all of these are rewarding.”

Worst of times:
Collecting taxes during tough economic times. “It’s very hard, I really feel for them.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Superman. “I love to travel. So it would be great to travel without having to bother with the airlines or worry about the hassles of the airport.”

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Job title: Training and accreditation supervisor for the Emergency Communications Center. Wade trains the folks who handle all of our emergencies, and keeps our area on the cutting edge.

Worked for the county for:
24 years

Resides in: Fluvanna County

Best of times: Receiving national accreditation. “I spent two-and-a-half years working to have our department meet national standards. It’s good to know we don’t only talk the talk, we walk the walk.”

Debbie Wade

Worst of times: Unsuccessful training, which takes up to a year. “It’s hard to be spending months and months with someone, spending a lot of our energy and their energy and time, and not have them succeed. There are no indicators—we’ve had people with high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, even master’s come in here and not make it.”

Strangest moment on the job: Man who called during a blizzard who said he was trapped and needed some pot. “He said that he needed it for a prescription for pain management. When I told him we couldn’t do that, he asked, ‘Don’t you have some in the evidence room?’”

If she were any superhero, she’d be: A super-duper accreditation supervisor to improve the national emergency response system. “We’ve got it pretty great around here, but I would like to help the whole country.”

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Job title: Environmental compliance manager. She seeks to improve the relationship between county government and the environment.

Has worked for the city for:
Four years

Sarah Temple

Best of times: Benchmarks. “The best times are at the end of the year when you can look back and see real, measurable results, both with conservation efforts, and saving costs.”

Worst of times: Don’t say recession. “It is hard to have to do more with less resources in these difficult financial times.”

Strangest moment on the job: “I had to give a presentation to the Board of Supervisors last February, and I came down with the flu the night before. I had a 101-degree fever, chills, and was sweating, but you can’t just cancel a meeting with the Board. I was told my words made sense, but I’m pretty sure I was in a hallucinatory state.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: Poison Ivy. “The purpose of her power is to protect the natural environment, and put a permanent end to pollution. She’s awesome.”

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Job title: Administrative assistant, handling payroll for Charlottesville’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Has worked for the city for: 34 years. “Longer than some of my coworkers have been alive.”

Best of times: The people and the parties. “I love my coworkers. The big events are fun because everyone in the department is there working them. It’s good to get out of the office. Also, with Parks and Rec, the work is different from season to season.”

Worst of times: Finding parking places. “I know there are supposed to be all the open spots around Downtown. But if I’m not in by 7:30, I’m cooked.”

Strangest moment on the job: “Oh man, all kinds of strange things happen around here. But if I had it printed in the paper, I could never come back to work again.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: Wonder Woman. “But my coworkers say that, I wouldn’t quite say that I am Wonder Woman.”
 

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Job title: Recreation program supervisor. Smith organizes, plans and implements everything from summer camp to sports leagues.

Has worked for the county for: 15 years

Resides in:
Albemarle County

Best of times: The middle school sports program’s track meet at Walton Middle School. “Getting 300 kids together and having it all happen by sunset —that’s good.”

Worst of times: “I’m sure this is everyone’s answer right now, but cutting the budget.”

Amy Smith

Strangest moment on the job: “Every year we organize a big Easter egg hunt with the city. Hundreds of eggs scattered all over the place, and hundreds of kids. Once [the kids] are set in motion, the eggs are gone in five minutes. One year, one of the kids was so excited he clapped really loud. Apparently all the other kids thought this meant it was time to go. Once they were going, it was impossible to stop them.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: The Flash. “Being able to get from A to B to C really fast would help keep everything going smoothly.”

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Job title:
Animal Control Officer. Durrer keeps the city’s animal population, both wild and domestic, under control.

Has worked for the city for: 27 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Best of times: Variety. “We deal with a lot of different things. It’s different from day to day. We see domestic animals a lot, but we also have deer and bears. It’s nice when you’ve been looking for one animal for a while, and you finally catch it.”

Worst of times: The need for the job. “We see a lot of injured animals, and domestics that haven’t been well cared for.”

Bobby Durrer

Strangest moment on the job: “Last Wednesday, we finally caught this stray dog that we’ve been looking for. He was asleep in the middle of the road, and when we captured him, he was so nervous he pooped all over us.”

If he were a superhero he’d be:
“On this job, you deal with a lot of aggressive animals and you need to be like a superhero

sometimes. Each situation is different. Sometimes you need to be The Hulk, sometimes Superman.”

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Job title: Captain, Albemarle County Fire Department. Brooks staves off blazes and educates county residents on fire safety.

Has worked for the county for:
11 years

Resides in: Goochland County

Best of times: “I love my job, so every time I come to work is the best of times. That and my co-workers.”

Chris Brooks

Worst of times: “I remember every moment of September 11, where we were when we found out, each thing I did that day. But I also see people when the worst has happened to them.”

Strangest moment on the job: When goats attack. “Not only had this goat been attacking the patient, it also decided to attack the ambulance.  You don’t see that very often.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Chewbacca. “They all call me a wookie around here.”

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Job title: Director of community attention, guiding children and families in need

Has worked for the city for: 13 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Best of times
: Seeing alumni of his program. “It’s great when kids come back years later, and can clearly tell you what a difference the program has made in their life.”

Worst of times: When his program’s kids are in the news for the wrong reasons. “There’s sometimes that there are local young people in the news as either the victim or the perpetrator of a crime. We often know them. That’s always hard on our staff and our kids.”

Strangest moment: Too numerous to count. “That’s part of the job, seeing strange things. I have funny stories for each kid.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Wolverine. “I used to have all those X-Men comic books.”

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Kerry Goode

Job title: Director of Information Technology. Goode manages the computers that manage our city.

Worked for the city for: 1 year

Resides in: Charlottesville

The best of times: First day on the job. “When I first got here, I was immediately able to see many things that needed help. We were able to deal with obsolescence, upgrade, and even go green. We received a lot of support, and should be able to reduce power consumption by 70 to 80 percent.”

The worst of times: Present circumstances. “Right now is probably the toughest. The budget crunch is on, and it is stressful to anticipate having holes in our budget.”

Stangest moment: When spam attacks. “We had an outbreak of spamming on our machines. At one point 95 percent of our e-mail was spam. Who would want to spam Charlottesville? Now it’s back to about 95 percent real e-mail.”

If he were a superhero he’d be: Iron Man. “He’s basically an icon of IT. He’s not the strongest, and isn’t all that special of a man, but he uses well-designed technology to help the world.”

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Worked for the county for: 2 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: County registrar, overseeing the election process.

Best of times: The end result. “The best is having people registered and hopefully we’ve kept the process as smooth as possible.”

Jake Washburne

Worst of times: Election day. “Things get pretty hectic. The phone is ringing off the hook, and there are always hundreds of questions to be answered. And of course, it is a very long day—from 5am to 9pm or later.”

Strangest moment on the job:
“I have less stories compared to some of our other people. So I know I’ll have some good ones if I stick around long enough.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be:
The Green Lantern. “Always liked him, but it’s been such a long time, I can’t remember why.”
 

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Worked for the city for: 2 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title:
Spanish teacher and wrestling coach for Charlottesville High School

Best of times: Working with the wrestling team. “They come out after a long day of classes and schoolwork, and still want to work at improving themselves. It’s cool because though we don’t have a big team, we have a tight team.”

Worst of times: First year of teaching. “I wasn’t the best at classroom management, and I was very inexperienced with teaching. Because of this, some students could get a little tough to teach.”

Michael Daulbert

Strangest moment on the job: “I assigned a video-based project and received some pretty interesting work. One group had a student who had bananas for hands, the rest of the group were monkeys. The monkeys basically chased around banana hands the whole movie, that was the whole plot. Pretty hilarious. Pretty strange.”

If he were a superhero he’d be: Batman. “He has no powers, so he made himself into what he is. He didn’t just settle for being rich. He chose to use his money for good by inventing cool tools and learning the martial arts.”

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Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Senior tax clerk. Flowers collects tax payments, sells decals and dog tags.

Best of times: Helping those who come to the office with questions. “I really like helping people understand the county’s procedures.”

Worst of times: Tax deadlines. “Twice a year, they have to come in here and pay their taxes, and with the economy the way it is, they are not too happy.”


Pat Flowers


Strangest moment on the job: Dealing with the effects of the current economy. “There are people who have never been late with their taxes, but they were this year because of the economy.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: Someone who would make people’s lives a little bit better and a little bit easier. “I treat people the way I want to be treated when I am dealing with the government.”

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Worked for the county for: 3 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Principal, Woodbrook Elementary School. As principal, Sterrett ensures the safety of students while ensuring a quality education for students at the school.

Best of times: Observing the excitement in others. “Seeing teachers coming in excited to be here, excited to be bringing enthusiasm and excited to teaching. We’ve all had teachers before as students, and the ones that stand out to me are the ones that make it come alive.”


William Sterrett

Worst of times: Dealing with the unexpected. “As a principal, you don’t know what kind of crises are going to hit. Last year, we had a smell that we thought was a gas leak. Turns out, it was some air trapped in our sewer pipes, and it was just something unexpected.”

Strangest moment on the job: Wearing different costumes for school fairs/theme days. “The past few years I’ve worn a pink beauty queen dress and a crown. Last year, I wore a gorilla ballerina suit, and I’ve also worn Superman and Winnie-the-Pooh costumes.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Superman. “I’ve always felt the cool thing about him is he’s able to do it all. He’s human too, the fact that he has a weakness, but he’s still able to prevail.”

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Worked for city transit for: 11 years

Resides in: Albemarle County
Job title: Customer service rep. Camacho assists in directing people to where they need to go and in handling complaints from users.

Best of times: Helping others. “When things happen to peoples’ cars, you want to help them find a proper route to get them to work on time.”


Sharon Molina Camacho

Worst of times: Not being able to help everybody. “Sometimes when people can’t get to where they need to go they can get a little upset about it.”

Strangest moment on the job: Finding people who are lost. “We have mothers lose their children, or missing elderly people, but we’re always able to find them as long as they’re on our busses.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: Wonder Woman. “She always gets the job done, and she reminds me of myself, because I’m always here to help people and Wonder Woman, that was her job too.”

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Worked for the city for: 7 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Facilities maintenance manager. Stewart and his office are responsible for maintenance of city offices and school buildings, including the heating, air conditioning, painting and other various repairs.

Best of times: Being helpful on different projects. “I think that men are problem solvers by nature, and the nature of my job is that people bring us problems and we solve them.”

Worst of times: Too many problems to solve. “We have 20,000 work requests a year on average, so sometimes you have slow days and some days you have more than you can get to, so it’s very difficult to prioritize things the way you’d like to.”

Strangest moment on the job: Helping someone pack up their office, discreetly. “I was asked to personally move someone out of their office who had been let go, and it was a very sensitive thing. They had all these files and big boxes they had to take home, and they didn’t want the news to spread.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Underdog. “I always dug Underdog. The outfit and the demeanor of Underdog rules.”

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Worked for the library for: 3 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Circulation assistant. Downing checks books in and out, organizes books on the shelves, and issues library cards.

Best of times: Being around others. “I’m able to help people. I love to see the children in here over the summer. It’s better that they’re here—they could be doing anything else.”

Worst of times: People’s complaints against others using the library. “People don’t remember that it’s a public library and not private. They’ll come up and complain that they don’t like that there are people at a table in the back who are homeless sitting there. That actually annoys me.”


Amanda Downing

Strangest moment on the job: Finding unusual items on the bookshelf. “Sometimes when I’m shelving a book, I won’t always find books. I’ll find maybe a loaf of bread.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: A superhero from her own imagination, Bookbinder. “I’d be able to move books without using a cart, be able to be the bookmobile without wheels.”

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Worked for the city for: 14 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Commonwealth’s Attorney

Best of times: The courtroom experience. “If you are interested in doing trial work, you have access to the most serious and most challenging, most important criminal cases that take place, and that has its own set of rewards in terms of being able to use your skills as an attorney for a purpose that benefits the community.”


Dave Chapman

Worst of times: Being unable to help everyone. “When you know that someone or something has been harmed by the behavior of another person, and it’s important to them, but you know there’s not sufficient evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Strangest moment on the job: When a man interrupted a local torch procession before the 1996 Olympics. “Some shirtless fat guy comes running out of the crowd, and starts bothering the torch bearer. It wasn’t really malicious, but he caused a terrible disturbance, and disrupted the process of the torch running. He started out with this t-shirt on, that had emblazoned on his chest ‘Coke makes you fat’ and it’s this huge guy. It was serious at the time, it was important to hold the individual accountable for his behavior, but it became the source of a running joke during this case.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Nobody at all. “I am who I am. It doesn’t get any better than this, it doesn’t get any worse than this.”

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Worked for the county for: 30 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Copy Center supervisor. The Copy Center handles copy and printing equipment and holds a small office supply area. The Center also makes booklets and forms for county schools, the HR department and other local government offices.

Best of times: “Every day is different. It’s an exciting place to work, because if you’re interested in the history of Albemarle County and your local government, then day-to-day I can see how the tax dollars are put to use.”


Dianna Weeks

Worst of times: When budgets are strained. “When you have money to spend, you’re happier than when you have a crunch going on where you can’t spend what you really need to make your office job a little better for you and your employees, and the customers you serve.”

Strangest moment on the job: When a leak developed in a conduit, causing smoke. “You could see a little smoke and we could smell something kind of burning, but it didn’t develop into anything big. Course, it scared us to death. And when we saw the smoke, we pulled the fire extinguisher, so we had that all over the place. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fire, especially in a copy center with all this paper.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: A different kind of superhero: Daffy Duck. “He’s funny, and he makes people laugh.”

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Worked for the city for: 7 years

Resides in: Fluvanna County

Job Title: Gardener, department of Parks and Recreation, horticulture team. Hall takes care of the Downtown area and designs and places all the pots around the Mall.


Lori Hall

Best of times: Putting in new plants around Downtown. “It just seems to bring a whole new life to the city.”

Worst of times: Vandalism and thefts of pots and plants. “I planted a vine and it hadn’t been in for more than 18 hours when somebody ripped it straight out.”

Strangest moment on the job: “It was probably my first week here. I was on the 250 Bypass weeding, and I had tractor-trailers whizzing within a foot of my head doing 55. I was really questioning, ‘Is this job for me?’”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “I’d think more of a supervillian. I’d be Poison Ivy from Batman. I’d love the power to control poison ivy, as well as not getting the scratchies.”

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Worked for the county for: 3 years

Resides in: Augusta County

Job title: Division manager for revenue and taxation. The division is responsible for preparing all the bills for personal property and real estate taxes and acts as a fiscal agent for other agencies around the county and state. The division also oversees assessing all individually owned vehicles, providing tax relief for the elderly, and income tax return preparation assistance.


Joseph Correa

Best of times: “When you help people that need your assistance, to troubleshoot their problems or do some research and uncover some issues that are in their benefit.”

Worst of times: Working with state tax code. “The more frustrating time for me is when I’m bound by state tax code to administer the code in one way, which kind of takes the human interaction out of it, the ability to respond to someone outside of just a black and white answer.”

Strangest moment on the job: The day two different armored cars showed up to collect deposit. “One of the armored cars was supposed to go to the city, pick up their deposit. Instead they showed up here, and they both showed up, who knew, at the exact same time to pick up our deposit. Everybody was kind of looking at each other wondering, ‘Who gets the money?’ Fortunately we had security measures in place so we knew exactly who our person was.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Superman. “The ability to fly. That would be pretty interesting to leap from one place to another.”

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Worked for the city for: 30 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: City assessor. Barbour is responsible for appraising all property around the City of Charlottesville, spread out into 42 residential areas and 16 commercial areas.

Best of times: “The best times are when you get lots of new construction. You have more information to look at to make an assessment.”


Roosevelt Barbour, Jr.

Worst of times: When property growth slows. “The hardest times are now, with fewer sales, slower sales, and you have foreclosures and houses on the market for 17 months. It makes it harder to make a fair assessment.”

Strangest moment on the job: Getting bit by a dog while assessing a property. “The dog bit me, but the owner didn’t believe me. It was in the knee, but fortunately it didn’t break the skin.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Superman. “You try to lead a normal life but sometimes you’re called on to do extraordinary things.”

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Worked for the county for: 30 years

Resides in:
Albemarle County


Robert Crickenberger

Job title: Deputy director, Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. Assists the director and takes his role in his absence. Albemarle County Parks and Recreation is responsible for parks, playing fields, and other recreational areas throughout the county.

Best of times:
Seeing projects go from paper to reality.
Worst of times: Keeping up with county growth. “With the size of the programs that we currently have we don’t have enough—lack of field space. But, again, we make it do what it do.”

Strangest moment on the job:
“We currently have one project now that we’ve been working on for four years, and just at the point we think we’re ready for closure, then something else pops up.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Indiana Jones. “He’s a more adventurous type, just like me.”

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Worked for the city for: 35 years

Resides in: Madison County

Job title: Public service manager for city Public Works. Lawson oversees street and sidewalk maintenance, refuse collection, traffic operation and stormwater maintenance.


Steve Lawson

Best of times: Emergency situations such as a hurricane when trees come down. “People are trying to get around, and we have to clear the streets so emergency services can get through, and that type of thing is just satisfying.”

Worst of times: “The toughest thing about the job probably revolves around your employees, and supervision of employees, discipline of employees. Any time you have a large number of people, you have high performers, low performers, and a big group in the middle who are pretty much average. The low performers take up a lot of the time.”

Strangest moments on the job: Squirrels getting caught in traffic signal
boxes, creating a short that knocks out traffic signals. “It’s not something that happens often. You remove a dead squirrel and you have to reset the box. It’s been a while but that has happened.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: Superman. “I don’t know of any kryptonite around anywhere close and other than that, he’s pretty much in charge.”

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Diane Behrens


Worked for the county for:
33 years

Resides in: Greene County

Job title: Executive director of support Services for Albemarle County Public Schools. Oversees building services, which includes maintenance and upkeep of building and planning for redistricting and new additions and buildings. Also oversees child nutrition programs, school athletic directors and school nurses.

Best of times: Seeing a project come to completion. “For instance, when we have a brand new building or a new addition that’s finished, and you see people excited to be in that building. Cale Elementary is an example. Last August, we opened a new addition to Cale and students were excited to be in their new classrooms.”

Worst of times: Making safety decisions —such as whether to close schools for inclement weather. “You always wonder whether or not you’ve made the right decision.”

Strangest moment on the job: “I guess when you think you know all the answers, some new question pops up, and you think ‘I thought I’ve heard everything, but I really haven’t.’ There have been some strange questions I’ve had to answer.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: Indiana Jones. “I’d like to be known for having grace under fire, being graceful under the heat and pressure.”
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Worked for the city for: 30 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Commissioner of Revenue. Raymond’s office assesses personal property, handles state income, estimated income, daily rental and transient taxes, among others, and runs housing relief programs.


Lee Richards


Best of times: “You seem to be able to get the same amount of work done with the same amount of people say in 1979 as you do today. We’ve taken on more work over the years, so they’ve always been good times.”

Worst of times: “When you had the 9/11 situation, it got really bad. We were having to wear masks and latex gloves to open mail.”

Strangest moment on the job: “Well, when they remodeled the first floor one time and we had to move everything to another building it was pretty strange because we had to move on the weekend and be ready on Monday morning to wait on customers.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: “Super City Man, maybe. What we do is we do more with less. It’s not like normal government. You got to be flexible to changing circumstances all the time, like the gas situation. I’ve been ready for that for the past four years.”

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Worked for the county for: 16 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Support staff for county executive’s office. Mullins assists with day-to-day operations for the county.

Best of times: “Working with this staff, the executives up here. They’re such good, honest people. They’re very supportive of me in my professional growth and are wonderful people to work with and for.”


Diane Mullins


Worst of times: “When we have difficult budget years, seeing how the folks here struggle to make it all work, balancing the budget while keeping services at a level where people are safe and happy. People don’t want taxes to go up, but they want their services to go up. It’s hard to strike that balance.”

Strangest moment on the job: “For the first 10 or 12 years I worked here, I was on the Albemarle County information line and there were some unusual questions that I would get. One girl called in looking for her fiancé, who hadn’t come home, and she didn’t know what to do, and she wanted help finding him.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “Flash. I could run around and get a lot more things done. On a busy day it’d be nice to, you know, zip zip zip zip, and everything would be done.”

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Worked for the city for: 29 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Customer service representative for utility billing. Works with customers with billing disputes and those unable to pay their bills.

Best of times: “I enjoy all of the people around. The best times are when somebody comes in here really, really upset and they leave laughing. I don’t try to joke about it, but I try to listen to their side of the story and then try to sympathize with them to an extent.”


Gail Harris

Worst of times: “The things that worry me are when I know people literally do not have money, enough for their heating bills. Some people have literally brought tears to my eyes, because I get into it with them. I put myself on the other side of the counter and say, ‘What am I going to do 20 years from now when things are going to be three times as bad?’ and I hope I have somebody that’s understanding.”

Strangest moment on the job: “I took a customer’s side on something that was outside my office, and I was going to bat for them completely, and I almost had to put my foot in my mouth to help her out—and then I found out in spades that she was sitting there lying to me.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “Bionic Woman. She can do anything. She could see through things, she could predict what was going on. If I knew what was going on, I could stop them, the bad things from happening.”

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Worked in the county for: Almost six years

Resides in: Fluvanna

Job title: Elections Manager. Works for the Voters Registration and Elections department. Schermerhorn does election-official recruiting and training, works on polling place issues. “Starting about August, it’s flat-out [busy], but it’s actually kind of busy constantly.”

Best of times: “I like working with my election officials, talking with them.”


Clarice Schermerhorn

Worst of times: “When I have to come in at 7am the day after an election to help [election officials] bring back all of their election materials. But they’re probably thinking that’s the worst of times too. It’s really early after a really late night. I usually get home around 10pm and ask my husband who won because I’ve been too involved.”

Strangest moment on the job: “When one of our polling places thought the election started at 6 at night. They got a little miscommunication. People were voting on the hood of the chief election official’s car until help could arrive—which it arrived fairly soon. That was probably the craziest thing that’s happened.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “Wonder Woman, of course, with a red, white and blue outfit. I would have, like, eight arms to do lots of things at once.”

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Worked for city for: Three years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Director of Communications, a.k.a. the city spokesman. Barrick oversees media relations in town, runs the three local access TV channels, works as a liaison for the Police Department and manages the internal communications of City Hall.


Ric Barrick


Best of times: “I love the most challenging days when I work with the great people in our department and use good judgment to solve a big problem and finish the day with it complete and done—that’s the best.”

Worst of times: “A lot of times people will ask for things that are legally or logistically impossible—you’re just not going to please everyone. Even though you do the best you can, you just have to move on to the next challenge.”

Strangest moments on the job: “We had a flood in City Hall when the roof leaked right on top of our TV station. All the water coming through the ceiling was yellow-green because it had picked up the pollen outside. My relaxing weekend turned into a rescue mission trying to save what equipment I could. I called the Police Chief and he volunteered his goulashes for me.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: “Multiple Version Man. I often have to be in more than one place at one time to ideally get my job done. Having many versions of myself would certainly rid me of that dilemma.”

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Worked for the county for: 11 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Lead custodian at Jackson Burley Middle School. He has four other assistant custodians to aid him in his daily quest to keep the bathrooms sanitary, the cafeteria clean, the floors sparkling and the mice out of the classrooms.


Calvin Sowell, Sr.


Best of times: “I take great pride in mentoring the kids. I try to instill morals and a sense of responsibility in them, and I tell them about how valuable an education is for moving up and forward in life.”

Worst of times: “When I have to clean up poop.”

Strangest moment on the job: “Two or three times a year, boys will smear poop on the bathroom walls. I think they do it as a dare, but the joke’s on them because they’re the ones picking up poop with their bare hands!”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: “The Flash. If I could expedite my movement, it would make my job easier because I could speedily complete each job and move on faster to the next.”
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Worked for the city for: Two years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Reading coach at Clark Elementary School. Coyner, who describes herself as an “embedded professional developer,” works with teachers to instruct reading and writing. Her position is federally funded as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.


Paula Coyner

Best of times: “Working with Mr. [James] Pierce, the principal. His support has been so critical to the Reading First program’s success.”

Worst of times: “I was loading kids on the bus one afternoon when I watched someone hit my car and drive away without leaving their information. I didn’t have a pen and I couldn’t leave the children, so it was pretty unfortunate for me.”

Strangest moments on the job: “We were screening students for our 3-year-old program when a little boy ran across the room to his mother, but in the process, his underwear fell out of his pants. It seems he had never put them on—he had just tucked them into his pants, so when they did fall out, he didn’t even notice.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “Wonder Woman. I would clone myself so I could be in six different places at the same time so I could meet everybody’s needs and make an even bigger impact.”

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Worked for the county for: One month

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: Civil deputy clerk. Melampy’s primary duty is to process, file and organize all civil lawsuits and divorces in the county. Daily, she interacts with attorneys, plaintiffs and defendants and says the interaction with people is one of the reasons she likes her job.

Best of times: “The familiar faces I work with over the course of a lawsuit. You really develop a good working rapport and want resolution for all parties involved.”

Worst of times: “The overwhelming load of paperwork we get in this office can make it really difficult to stay organized. We have stacks of paper everywhere and the longer a lawsuit is pending, the more paperwork!”

Strangest moments on the job: “We have a divorce case that has been going on since 1996, and although the divorce is final, the involved parties continue to wage legal war against each other with ongoing lawsuits. Their case has over 3′ of stacked paper documents filling up five boxes!”

If she were a super hero she’d be: Super Organizational Woman. “I would get paperwork done in the blink of an eye.”

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Susanne Kogut

Worked for the local SPCA* for: 3 years

Resides in: Ruckersville

Job Title: Executive director of the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA. Kogut is responsible for directing her staff, financial matters, public relations, and working on legislation for animals.

Best of times: “When I first started, we were euthanizing over 40 percent of the animals. Now we euthanize 8 percent or less and that’s only for medical or severe behavioral issues.”

Worst of times: “There’s nothing worse than euthanizing a happy, healthy animal because we fall short on resources or space. I hope we never have to do that again.”

Strangest moments on the job: “Someone brought us a black widow spider they found on their property and turned it in to us in a jar. We ended up letting the spider back outside.”

If she were a superhero, she’d be: “Leader of the Pack. I wish I could train other people working in animal welfare to maximize their resources and programs and save more animals because that’s what it’s all about.”

*Kogut says the SPCA receives about $200,000 annually from the city and county. A much larger portion of the SPCA’s budget comes from fundraising, but she wishes there were more tax dollars at work.

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Worked for the county for: 11 years

Resides in: Palmyra

Job title: Probate clerk. Kirshnick qualifies guardianships and conservatorships for incapacitated adults. She handles the inventory and accounts for all deceased people in the county. “I have to have a certain demeanor when working with people because they are still grieving.”

Best of times: “One person I processed was 103 years old —it definitely gives me some comfort knowing he had such a full life.”

Worst of times: “One gentleman came in to administer the estate of his wife who had died in childbirth. We both ended up crying in the office over his loss.”

Strangest moments on the job: “There was a deceased man who had children ranging from ages 2 to 50 years old!”

If she were a super hero she’d be: Equal Opportunity Girl. “I have to listen to everybody’s side of the story and give it consideration. I do my best to be completely fair.”

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Markell Henderson

Worked for the city for: 7 years

Resides in: Louisa

Job title: Firefighter at the City of Charlottesville Fire House No. 1. As a driver, Henderson’s primary responsibilities include checking the fire truck to make sure it is ready for action.

Best of times: “The brotherhood among us firefighters. We spend a lot of time together during our 24-hour shifts.”

Worst of times: When the engine died on the way to a serious house fire. “Talk about frustrating!”

Strangest moments on the job: Having to free a drunk 16-year-old boy who had climbed into a washing machine. “We ended up having to saw the washing machine apart to free him. We are still trying to figure out how he got in there.”

If he were a super hero he’d be: “Captain Heat. I would have enhanced firefighter powers like super strength and all the ladies would love me for being a brave public servant.”

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Worked for the county for: 10.5 years

Resides in: Charlottesville

Job title: As deputy court clerk, Minahan specializes in recording county real estate transactions, issuing marriage certificates and wills, and documenting court judgments.  Her favorite duties include swearing in new policemen, sheriffs and preachers.

Best of times: “One time while searching for someone else’s record, I found my grandparents’ marriage certificate.”
Worst of times: “It is hard when we are swamped or shorthanded. I don’t like it when I am too busy to help people even though I want to.”

Strangest moments on the job: “The attitude of some people who come in to get a marriage license is shocking. They are fighting and are very mad at each other or worse. I often wonder why they’re getting married in the first place.”

If she were a super hero she’d be: “Colin Powell. Under President Bush he wanted to look out for the common man and look out for our country.”

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Worked for the county for: 12 years

Resides in: Lake Monticello in Fluvanna County

Job title: Lieutenant in the Albemarle County Sheriff’s office. Responsibilities include overseeing the daily operation of state-mandated tasks—the courts, transports, and civil process divisions of the office. Sprouse makes daily trips to the jail to transport inmates and is on a first-name basis with many of them. “I treat them like anybody else and try not to be judgmental.” Especially, he says, “because there are so many people who have never been convicted of anything spending time in jail awaiting trial.”

Best of times: “When I am able to help somebody. To me, if you’re doing a good job as a cop you not only keep bad people off the street but you often keep good people from going to jail.”

Worst of times: “There was a 9-year-old girl who was accidentally shot in the head by her 11-year-old brother and I basically had to cradle her while I waited for the squad to come; she was dying in my arms. It really struck a chord with me because one of my daughters was the same age.”

Strangest moment on the job: “One time we had an inmate who tried to smuggle a set of barber shears up his rectum. We were tipped off by another inmate and sure enough, we found them wrapped in plastic about three inches long apiece.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: “Lieutenant Underdog, because Underdog always helped out the less fortunate and I guess I would have a super dog urine spray too.”

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Tim Hughes

Worked for the county for: 28 years

Resides in: Crozet

Job title: Athletics and program supervisor for the Department of Parks and Recreation. Hughes is in charge of all field scheduling and maintenance, along with the capital athletic field project to improve the area’s outdoor recreation facilities. You can catch him surveying the condition of the Albemarle County fields and inspecting the progress of a new field or a refurbishment.

Best of times: Seeing improvement in the athletic fields, the growth of local leagues and (personally) watching his three children play on the fields.

Worst of times: “Every year it is a struggle to find enough field space for everyone to play on.”

Strangest moments on the job: “To tell you the truth, I don’t know about any real strange moments other than the hectic part of my job when it comes to trying to find someone a spot to play or two teams showing up at one time—we always just try to be diplomatic about it and generally most of the folks are willing to work it out.”

If he were a superhero, he’d be: “Captain Planet. If I were him, then maybe I could make some more field space.”

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Worked for city for: 1.5 years

Resides in: Buckingham County. “I am willing to travel so far because I really do love my job.”

Job title: Customer service supervisor. She’s been in the position since May. “I oversee the girls, help them with any difficult customers that we have,” says TenEyck. Before coming up to the front desk, she worked in cash management. While living in Syracuse, New York, she found the job online—her sister lives in Charlottesville.

Best of times: “The people. I love to meet different people.”

Worst of times: “The people. Sometimes you get angry people, but if you just give them a few minutes of your time to listen to them, and not do other things while they’re talking to you, they calm down. They just want to know that somebody’s listening to them.”

If her job were done by a superhero, it’d be: “Wonder Woman. She can do anything. And she can do it fast.”

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Dayna Awkard

Worked for Albemarle County for: 18 years come March 15

Resides in: Waynesboro

Job title: Deputy Clerk. She started working as a deputy clerk straight out of Fluvanna High School after her mother noticed an ad for the job. “She knew I loved typing and office stuff,” Awkard says. Although she initially resisted taking the job, she says she now loves it. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere but here. I’ve been here for so long.” Still, she says that one day she would like to be a lawyer, “since I know a little about the law and everything, the codes and how you do this and how you do that. Me and the attorneys get along great.” When Awkard’s not filing or attending to the other aspects of her day-to-day gig, she rushes home to her new son, born seven months ago. “I love to spend all my time with him,” she says. “I can’t wait for the summer to get here so we can do things.”
 
Best of times: “Doing the new suits because I love typing. There’s never a dull moment here.”

Worst of times: “We deal with the public all day long and they can be a pain in the you-know-what, and they can be mean as you-know-what. They come up here, especially when trying to get a divorce, and they don’t understand that we have no forms, we can’t tell you how to do it, we’re not attorneys, we just work here. They don’t want to hear that.”
Strangest moments on the job: “Nowadays, nothing surprises me at all. It all plays out. For example, divorce files that go on and on and on with no children, and we’ll have, like, five boxes for one file. They’re fighting over the property, or a dog. That’s strange. From 1997-2008? C’mon now. Somebody got to agree on something. Move on.”

If her job were done by a superhero, it’d be: “The Incredibles, all of them. I can stretch my arm out and get this and get that. They do all kinds of stuff.” 

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Worked for Albemarle County for: 3.5 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Organizational development specialist. She started in community development enforcing zoning laws, and now she teaches classes through the Human Resources department. She doesn’t “teach the firemen how to put out fires or the cops how to shoot,” but she does get a view into a variety of jobs held by local government employees. She brings them all into the same room for training sessions in customer service and strategic thinking, among other things.

Best of times: “When people get that ‘aha’ moment. It’s very rewarding to see the moment people understand something they’ll be able to use later.”

Worst of times: “Training people who don’t want to be here.”

Strangest moments on the job: After an introduction, being recognized as “that lady who sends all the e-mails.”

If her job were done by a superhero, it’d be: “Gumby, or somebody really flexible. Or Inspector Gadget, because I’m always reaching out to people.”

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Worked for the city for: 3.5 years

Resides in: Albemarle County

Job title: Permit Technician. You encounter Barmore when you call or walk in to Neighborhood Development Services, in the city hall annex. She answers the phones, directs walk-ins and organizes all kinds of permits for building, home occupancy, temporary parking and all that good stuff.

Best of times: The lunch to celebrate the winter holidays

Worst of times: Any day after a holiday break, having to deal with a backlog of work

Strangest moments on the job: "I haven’t had anything too out of the ordinary. People call here and act like we’re the DMV or ask directions somewhere. Sometimes it’s like we’re 411."

If she were a superhero, she’d be: I’m-Every-Woman woman

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