BEMIDJI-After more than three decades in Bemidji City Hall, Kay Murphy is preparing to exit her career in local government.
Murphy, who started working for the city in 1986 and became City Clerk in 2005, is set to retire after finishing the month of April. Over the course of her time with the city, she had many roles and worked with multiple departments. Her first position at City Hall was as the City Clerk's secretary, which fit with her educational background.
"I had graduated with secretarial and bookkeeping skills. At the time, the job was available and I figured it would be a good fit for me," Murphy said. "I then worked as Deputy City Clerk for about three years before taking over as City Clerk."
Since then, Murphy has had a number of duties to handle, including preparing the City Council meetings, running the city's website, overseeing updates to inform the public and organize the city elections.
"When I started, I had helped with elections before, helping to set up polling places, and I had hands-on experience about being a head judge. That's been a big part of the job," Murphy said. "It's exciting to be part of those elections. We've had tight races here for mayor and various City Council seats."
Elections, Murphy said, have not only remained exciting, but are much easier to handle in recent years with the improved technology that the city now uses during the voting process.
"Before we had the new election equipment here, I recall we would be over at the counting center until about 4 in the morning, counting the results," Murphy said. "Our new equipment has certainly made the nights easier."
For the weekly meetings of the council, meanwhile, Murphy works to come up with the agenda by keeping in touch with the multiple departments and keeping up with staff.
"The great part about working with her is when you need information or background on something, Kay works really hard to get that to you and makes sure everyone has the details we need," Bemidji Parks and Recreation Director Marcia Larson said. "She makes sure that the information is communicated among us."
While Murphy will retire from city government, though, she said she still plans to be involved in the community. For example, she plans to continue doing volunteer work as a member of the First City Lions Club. Additionally, Murphy said she has some interest in being an elected official. However, that position wouldn't be on the City Council.
"It's a tough job that these folks on the council have, there's a lot of tough decisions," Murphy said. "I've played with the idea of running for office, though. If I did it would maybe be for school board or something like that."