Former Cleburne City Secretary Shelly Doty joked that she never received a STARS Award, until her Friday retirement party at city hall that is.
The award is periodically presented to employees who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Your actions made this city shine,” City Manager Steve Polasek said as he presented the award to Doty.
The award came “last but not least” following several other gifts of questionable merit to mark the final chapter of Doty’s 28 years with the city.
“I was wondering what to get for Shelly to let her know how much we appreciate her and decided on a Cleburne cap,” Polasek said to laughter and applause. “That wasn’t quite enough so I also got this flash drive with a Cleburne logo on it. That still wasn’t enough so I got you a pen, too. It doesn’t write. I tried it.”
The only reason Doty never received a STARS Award is that she oversaw the program, Polasek added.
“But she is an all star for being a fantastic employee, colleague and friend to Cleburne and so many,” Polasek said. “We also got you a gift card for Mom’s Kitchen to make sure you come back to visit us. Get some goodies across the street and stop by to hang out.”
Polasek, on a more serious note, called Doty a true pleasure to work with.
“Shelly put her heart and soul into this organization and, in many ways, she is the heart and soul,” Polasek said. “The impact you’ve had on the people you’ve worked with has been huge. You’ve been that rock for the city of Cleburne for so many years. We are going to miss you, a lot.”
Mayor Pro Tem John Warren brought up the old cliche all good things must come to an end.
“I say all good things never come to an end,” Warren said. “Why? Because good people are places in spaces and times to perpetuate the positive outcome of events.”
Warren thanked Doty for her assistance during his time on council.
“During my tenure, you’ve always been nice to me,” Doty said. “In midst of our nation’s focus on our differences there has never been a time I was made to feel inadequate because I was not familiar with council administrative jargon. There has never been a time I was made to fell less important.”
On a more personal note, Warren spoke about his wife who passed away several years ago.
“Prior to her demise on two occasions you took time to visit us during her long period of illness,” Warren said. “Thank you Shelly. I can’t tell you what your effort, concern and compassionate attitude meant to me and my family. And may God forever bless you and your family.”
Former City Manager Rick Holden recalled the first time he met Doty.
“I was a health inspector for Cleburne back in the ’70s and Shelly was manager of the Taco Bell if I remember correctly,” Holden said. “I never had to close that restaurant down or anything else and that’s about as way back as we’re going to go.
“But as city secretary Shelly was spectacular. I’ve cried and laughed with her and we’ve been through a lot together.”
Holden, who now serves as city manager of Alvarado, urged Doty to enjoy her retirement.
“I thought I was ready to retire after Cleburne and now I’ve found myself right back in the middle of city management,” Holden said. “I’ve lost my mind.
“But you take some Shelly time and do what you want to do. You’ve taken care of all of us for years and years. Now it’s time to take care of yourself.”
Former Deputy City Secretary Ivy Peterson, now city secretary, presented Doty a card signed by city employees.
“There’s not enough space in this envelope to contain what we feel about you,” Peterson said. “You’ve been an exceptional example to me and the staff. Your leadership is top notch and you’re top class Shelly.”
Peterson thanked Doty for wisdom imparted through the years.
“I’m going to take what you’ve taught me and carry it forward and try to do the best in your shoes,” Peterson said.
Doty had difficulty holding tears at bay as she thanked those present.
“This is the hard part,” Doty said. “I wrote it all down what I wanted to say but left it at home so I’ll just have to wing it. It’s been a great 28 years. I love it here. I love my job. But mostly I love you guys.”
Doty, in her last official act as city secretary, swore Peterson into the post she’s now retired from.
Peterson in her first official act invited attendees to partake of “delicious cake and refreshments.”