After 13 years of serving Waterloo, Barb Pace has retired as city clerk.
Pace said the decision to step down was mainly due to her health in relation to the COVID-19 crisis.
“My doctor said that with my health, I probably don’t need to be around people much,” Pace said. “It’s just time.”
Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith appointed Mechelle Childers as the new city clerk at the start of Monday’s city council meeting. She will serve the remainder of Pace’s elected term of office that runs through April 30, 2023.
“I know I’ve got some tough shoes to fill,” Childers said.
Childers resigned from the city’s planning commission as a result of her new position.
Smith expressed appreciation for Pace’s service to the city.
“Barb, I’d like to thank you for your 13 years of service,” he said.
Pace, 77, said she has lived in Waterloo since 1969 and is an active member of First Baptist Church of Waterloo. She grew up in East St. Louis.
She was first elected city clerk in 2007, which is the same year Smith took office as mayor.
“You can be as involved in it as you want,” Pace said about being clerk. “The more exposure you get, the more people recognize you and want to talk to you.”
Pace attended all city council meetings as well as the monthly mayor’s meetings, public hearings and quarterly meetings of city clerks from throughout the region.
She said the best advice is to just record the facts of each meeting.
Pace said she enjoyed campaigning at election time, as it offered the opportunity to get to know the community and all of its neighborhoods.
“One time I went to a guy’s house and he just asked me ‘Why should I vote for you?’” Pace recalled. “I told him ‘Because I love Waterloo.’ And I meant it.”
She said politicians often get a bad rap, and that even filters down to the local level. But Pace believes Waterloo is in good hands.
“I just wish everyone could see how conscientious they are,” she said. “Some of the best people in Waterloo are on that council. The mayor, aldermen, (Director of Public Works) Tim Birk, (Budget Officer-Collector) Shawn Kennedy. They discuss things, talk over things. They really, genuinely care.”
Pace said that now she is done with public office, she will further explore her passion for writing and painting.
“God has a plan for me with one or the other,” she said.
Also on Monday night, the council approved the mayor’s reappointment of Daniel Hayes as city attorney.
Aldermen also approved a SCADA system update for the wastewater treatment plant and power plant from BHMG in the amount of $191,816. Birk explained that the city’s current system was outdated and its technology was no longer supported.
Similarly, the city approved the purchase of an HP 4100 plotter/scanner for the CAD mapping department from Rotolite in the amount of $22,245.