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Monday, October 3, 2022

City Servant Set to Retire Following Two Decades of Service

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Waldron City Clerk and Treasurer Sherry Johnston has been a mainstay for over two decades. In that time, she’s witnessed a lot of changes. Some good, some bad. But one thing that has never changed, her devotion to the city and its residents.

If you ask anyone at city hall, they would agree that much of the city’s progress and success has been due to Johnston’s efforts. Unfortunately, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Johnston announced that she plans to retire, effective June 30.

She began working for the city January 1, 1991. She served two, four year terms. In 1998, she made the decision to run for mayor. Johnston was defeated by former Mayor Troy Anderson. After that time she worked for eight years outside the city.

In 2006 Johnston ran for the clerk and treasurer’s position. She took office on January 1, 2007. She has filled that office for the past 13 and a half years. “While elected as Clerk and Treasurer, I have had the opportunity to fulfill many roles at the City and in my community,” shared Johnston. “I think anytime you are in an environment with a small staff, you do whatever needs to be done.  Being at the city has also provided many opportunities to be involved in community outreach and community development, my most favorite parts of the job.”

Johnston, 68, has served with six mayors during her time as clerk and treasurer. “Jimmy Lassiter was mayor during my first term and Patrick Travers during my second term.  I enjoyed working with each of them.  The city employees were like family to Jimmy and he really cared about each one.  Patrick was very active and progressive.  He brought a lot of needed changes to the city.  During the next two terms, I wasn’t in office and Troy Anderson served as mayor.  He appeared to be a very good administrator during this time. I was elected and returned as the City Clerk and Treasurer in 2007 with newly elected Mayor Randy Butler.  Randy, his wife Pam, and I graduated together.  Randy brought a lot of energy to the city and he launched several improvement projects and construction during his term.  Don Owens began his term in 2011 and continued the earlier improvements.  He possessed a good sense of business and brought structure to the workforce.  Neil Cherry’s term began in 2015 and he served through 2018.  Under his leadership, the city continued to grow and additional improvement projects were begun. In 2019, we welcomed former Police Chief David Millard as Mayor.  It was an easy transition since he was already familiar with the departments and much of the business of the city.  He has brought a good sense of direction to the city and I really enjoy working with him.”  

Johnston stated that one of the things she has enjoyed most about working for the city is that it allowed her to accomplish a great mission in life. “I do enjoy being the City Clerk and Treasurer, but I enjoy even more how I have been able to manifest God’s will in my life.  I believe we are all called to a life of service and being at the city has brought me to places and people where I have been able to serve that I otherwise would not have.”  

Throughout her years of service, Johnston has been fortunate to be a part of many construction projects and community improvements. In fact, she shared that it was one of the most rewarding parts of her job. One project in particular, the new city park. “It’s very rewarding to see a large construction project come together, be well orchestrated, and have a great result that will serve the city for many years to come.  The new City Park tops the list for that for me.  Although we still have another phase to add, the City Park has been my favorite project and the most rewarding.  I have enjoyed working with our City Superintendent, Brandon Nelson, and the other city employees to design a beautiful park.  I know it’s something that our community will enjoy for many years to come.  I love driving by and seeing families together enjoying the activities.  The park is also a key ingredient in the baseline of community development that has been missing from our community.”

Following retirement, Johnston plans to remain engaged with the community. She plans to serve on community boards and attend meetings. She also plans to spend more time with family, for camping and at Lake Ouachita. “I also have a few other things I’m needing to do.  They are calling me and I can hear the faint whisper.  They just haven’t fully manifested yet.”

Johnston met and married her high school sweetheart, Butch Johnston in 1970. The couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on May 29. The Johnstons have two married children, a daughter, Andrea, 41, and a son Mikey, 38. Butch and Sherry are also grandparents to Claydin, Willie, and Karissa.

“I look forward to continuing my friendship and business relationship with Mayor Dave,” Johnston concluded. “I have been blessed to work with some amazing people. That has made it difficult to find a stopping place!”

Johnston’s coworkers feel equally blessed. “She truly is a great mentor,” shared City Administrative Secretary Regina Oliver. “She always told me about amazing things she wanted to do once she retires and now she can do them all. Yet there is something I will miss, a wonderful colleague at the office. Having Sherry around is always nice, she was great at giving me advice, not only for work, but for my every day life.”
Oliver, who has worked side by side with Johnston over many years, added: “No more long work hours, nor deadline warnings. Now it’s her time to chill and relax. We will miss her smiling face, her silly jokes and gags! Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and enjoy your retirement Mrs. Sherry, you will be missed!”

Waldron Mayor David, “Dave,” Millard shared the same sentiments. “I’ve worked with Sherry since 1992. She pinned my name Dave and even put that on my payroll check for a long time! Throughout the years she has often said ‘I have an idea! It may not be a good one, but it’s an idea.’ She has never had a bad idea, and her ideas have brought this city to where it is today. I love this lady and will miss working with her a great deal!”

With heartfelt gratitude we say thank you Sherry Johnston for your years of service to the City of Waldron. Wishing you years of continued happiness and blessings!

Retiring Waldron City Clerk and Treasurer Sherry Johnston will be greatly missed by her co-workers at City Hall. Pictured with Johnston (seated) is Mayor David Millard. Standing, from left, Carleva Jones, LaVada Allen, Brandon Nelson, Regina Oliver and Amanda Falconer.
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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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