Moffat County residents in need of understanding or assistance having been getting it from Shirley Seely for longer than some of them have been alive.
Seely, the City Clerk and Personnel Director for the City of Craig, has been playing the instrumental-but-overlooked role of clerk for almost 25 years. The Craig resident started working for the city as an administrative assistant in 1982, and became the clerk seven years later.
Due to her long service, Seely is aware of the way she is viewed as an institution in Craig, an integral part of what has been going on here for the past two decades and beyond. But she won’t make any fuss about it.
“That’s what a lot of people say,” Seely said about her well-known status in town. “I guess it’s okay. I know that I’ve always been here. You’ll find I’m not very exciting.”
While she may nit consider herself exciting, there's not doubt about how effective she is in her role as City Clerk. She knows the ins and outs of one of the city’s most necessary jobs.
The clerk has a variety of responsibilities, from facilitating elections and their results to updating the municipal code book whenever needed to managing the liquor licenses in town. No matter the issue, Seely likes her job because it usually involves her working with people.
“I enjoy working with people, basically,” she said. “Their problems are my problems. It’s always nice to be able to work with them and get things resolved.”
Seely has been rooted in Craig since her family moved from Nebraska when she was young, and her marriage to David Seely, a ranch owner in Craig, ensured that she would be here for the long haul.
“I married a rancher and you don’t pick up a ranch,” she said. “We were married and we started ranching and (clerking) has been a good deal to go along with it. I’ve been given several plaques that say, ‘For every rancher, he has a wife with a job in town.’ It’s very apropos.”
The two have been married 52 years and are perhaps nearing the end of their respective careers, David Seely said. And while he has stayed out of his wife’s work in the city, he’s aware of her contributions to Craig.
“I haven’t been active in what she’s done,” David said. “I try not to interfere. She’s very determined to keep Craig a nice place. She’s probably influenced a lot of people in the city government here. She’s a strong advocate for the community there.”
In addition to her work in the city, Shirley has also been valuable on the ranch, David said.
“Her job has pulled us through some pretty tough economic times on the ranch,” he said.
Clerks often are something of an unsung hero in their cities or counties because they take care of many different things which the municipalities could not do without. They are also occasionally the only people who know how to do what they do.
Shirley says that’s an aspect she has always enjoyed.
“There’s certainly not any glamor in it, but it’s a good feeling of satisfaction to help people through all the steps to obtain their licenses or help them understand codes or what the city is doing,” she said. “It’s not anything really exciting, it’s just one of those things that needs to be done.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org