WHITEY COUNTY — After more than 44 years of hard work and dedication to the citizens of Whitley County, Kay Schwartz has retired as Whitley County’s Clerk.
Schwartz, who has worked full-time at the office since January of 1975, resigned on Saturday, Nov. 30. Schwartz retires ahead of several new changes coming to the office in January, including electronic recording and new programming.
“I have no desire to learn those new changes,” said Schwartz. “I feel that if I’m not willing to learn the job, then I shouldn’t get paid for it — that’s why I resigned.”
As for Saturday’s resignation date, Schwartz said there is a certain window both with the law and the retirement system, and Saturday worked best for those requirements.
“I would like to thank Kay for her many, many years of honorable service to the citizens of Whitley County,” said Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. “Being an elected official requires time, dedication and a servant’s heart. Kay has demonstrated all off those things over the last 40-plus years she has served in the Whitley County Clerk’s Office, first as a deputy clerk and then as the elected clerk of Whitley County. We will miss her, but know she looks forward to spending some long overdue time with her children and grandchildren. Congratulations on your retirement, Kay.”
On Monday, White appointed Carolyn Willis who has 26 years of experience to the office.
“I’m pleased to appoint Carolyn Willis as Kay Schwartz’s successor as Whitley County Clerk,” he said. “Carolyn was the natural choice to fill the vacancy created with Kay Schwartz’s resignation. She has more than 20 years experience working in the clerk’s office and will do an exemplary job making sure the office continues to run smoothly this next year until the voters decide who will be clerk in next year’s primary and general elections.”
Schwartz said Willis is the best person for the job. Willis has been in the office for over 20 years and has clerk experience in two states.
“She knows most all of it anyway,” said Schwartz. “She’s been training and she won’t have any trouble with the new part. We have such wonderful staff here. They are always willing to help.”
Schwartz, who has been Whitley County’s clerk since 2007, said the county has been good to her and notes she’s been good to the county giving the community much of her time.
Schwartz in her career even created the bookkeeping system for the office and was president of the Kentucky County Clerks Association in 2012 and inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 79th annual Fifth District Lincoln Club Banquet.
She seldom took a lunch break while on the job and is looking forward to going to lunch with friends while in retirement.
“I am very excited and want to do an excellent job for the people and the county,” Willis said.
Willis isn’t intimidated by the new changes that are coming in the new year, adding that the job is constantly changing and the office will get through it.
Willis will serve as interim clerk with plans to run for the position and Schwartz is asking citizens to vote for her.
Victoria Adkins, deputy clerk and elections deputy, was hired by Schwartz and said she is sad to see Schwartz go but said she deserves it.
“She’s a wonderful boss, a great human being period,” said Adkins. “I really am going to miss her but she’s worked hard all her life. She’s ready to go on and we’re happy for her.”
Adkins also said the office is in good hands with Willis.