April 25, 2012 | 08:51 AMGENOA CITY — For nearly seven years, Village Clerk Mary Buchert has been the person to talk to when you had a question about local government.
She's the one who knows what's going on, what you need to do whether you're building a house or a subdivision, the one you see sitting next to the village president at board meetings, pen in hand.
But after July 6, it's going to be someone else — someone who should be familiar to those involved in the community. Claudia Jurewicz, currently the village treasurer, will become the new clerk-treasurer.
That's right, clerk-treasurer.
"We're going to combine both positions," Village President John Wrzeszcz said Thursday, April 19, during a telephone interview. "A different village board had separated them, but we believe that Claudia has the skills and the knowledge to handle both positions."
During a telephone interview Wednesday, April 18, Buchert said she is excited about Jurewicz taking over for her.
"I feel she's got a handle on stuff and I'm just confident she's going to do a great job," Buchert said. "She has the village in her heart."
What about Buchert? The 56-year-old, a former clerk-comptroller in Richmond, Ill., and once a Woman of the Year in that state, said it's time for her to retire.
Just don't assume this means she feels old.
"I'm going to spend the summer with my grandkids, then I don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up," Buchert said.
Wrzeszcz said Buchert has been his "right-hand man" since he became village president.
"She was nothing but the best of help to me," he said. "I'll miss that big smiling personality of hers. She's always bubbly."
A birthday present
As one career ends, another begins.
"I'm looking forward to just kind of getting my hands into things and seeing what I can do, if there are changes that can be made and if I can make them," said Jurewicz, 49, during a separate April 18 interview. "I do think of it as a promotion and it tells me the board members have confidence that I can run the office."
Wrzeszcz said the board didn't advertise for the position because of Jurewicz.
"We decided that already having someone who has been with the village for a long time, she would be our best bet," he said.
Jurewicz said she is a busy person.
She has a 24-year-old son, Sean, with her husband, Jeff. Claudia also remains involved at First Congregational Church-United Church of Christ, where she worked as a secretary for eight years prior to her village career. Today, she remains the church vice president and financial secretary, and manages to be part of HIS, a gospel/bluegrass singing group.
Ironically, two crucial turning points in Jurewicz's village career occurred on her birthday.
Ten years ago, after working at Village Hall a couple months, she was officially hired as a deputy clerk-treasurer.
On April 12 -- again, on Jurewicz's birthday — the Genoa City Village Board approved Buchert's resignation and selected Jurewicz as her replacement.
But in the last 10 years, Jurewicz has seen her position change. In 2005, when Buchert was hired, the Village Board restructured the office. There used to be a clerk-treasurer, then a deputy clerk-treasurer. Since then, it's been a clerk/deputy treasurer — Buchert — and a treasurer/deputy clerk.
"We expected a lot of growth in the community before the economy went to heck," Wrzeszcz said.
Jurewicz and Wrzeszcz said the Village Human Resource Committee are in the midst of restructuring the office.
But the recombination of the clerk and treasurer positions likely won't leave Jurewicz alone in her new title.
"We're looking at hiring a deputy clerk-treasurer," Wrzeszcz said.
He said one reason for a deputy clerk-treasurer is if Jurewicz or whoever takes the deputy job is sick or on vacation, "we will always have a clerk-treasurer" in the Village Hall office.
Now, the details are being hashed out as to how the Village Hall office is restructured.
Jurewicz seemed eager for the future.
"I think we need to move forward and I'm hoping we will be moving forward," she said.
She also said biggest challenge may be to simply remember all that is involved as a clerk-treasurer. Although she is familiar with the "treasurer" part of that job, some tasks — such as elections — will be new to her.
Is she concerned?
"A little bit," Jurewicz said. "But I've been here 10 years (and) Mary has been helping me a lot."
Find out more about Buchert in a feature next month, and the Regional News will check in with Jurewicz after she becomes more acclimated to her new job.