City employees welcome new clerk

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Left to right, Alpena City Manager Greg Sundin, newly hired Clerk/Treasurer Anna Soik and retiring Clerk/Treasurer Karen Hebert share a laugh Wednesday during a welcoming party for Soik. Hebert, who is retiring in January, will work as assistant clerk/treasurer and help Soik settle in before retirement.

ALPENA — City of Alpena employees and members of municipal council welcomed new Clerk/Treasurer Anna Soik to the staff during a meet and greet Wednesday morning at city hall.

It was Soik’s first day in her new position.

Soik is replacing Karen Hebert who is retiring in January and will finish the duration of her time as assistant clerk/treasurer and help Soik settle in.

Hebert’s peers took time to share their thoughts on the job she did while serving the city and assisted them in doing their own jobs and how the city benefited from her work.

City Manager Greg Sundin said Hebert has been key to helping the city through the recession and work within the budget during lean times. He said she also played a critical role in helping him transition into his city manager position after he was promoted from planning and development director.

“She was very familiar with the intricacies of the budget and operation of the city on a broader scale than I ever had been,” Sundin said. “She was a great resource for me and she helped me greatly. Karen was very, very helpful.”

Sundin said many of the city staff began working together at about the same time and have grown close over the years. Others, like current Planning and Development Director Adam Poll, haven’t been with the city as long, but were helped by Hebert’s experience.

“She’s been awesome and it has been great for me to have someone with that wealth of knowledge. It seems like she always has the right answer,” Poll said. “It is always nice to know that you have that help when you need it. She has been great to work with and has been a positive benefit to the city.”

Human Resources Director Kathy Himes said Hebert also helped make her job easier. She said whenever she needed assistance Hebert was always there.

“Any time I needed anything at all she would help me find the resources I needed and make everything right,” Himes said. “I love that she is so fiscally responsible with benefits and wages and yet she tries to be fair because she understands that we all need to make a living and support our families.”

City Engineer Rich Sullenger said Hebert has helped make many projects in the city possible, because of her knowledge of the budget and different funds. He said because of her knowledge of the city’s finances, it helped him to select projects to be done and plan for others to be done later.

“We have worked very closely with her throughout her tenure here and any time we may have issues with funding or something we could always go down and talk to her,” Sullenger said. “It has been very advantageous to have that open communication. What we all have here are all of the departments are in a partnership. The one with Karen will always be a very special one.”

Hebert will remain in the office until sometime in January and help Soik with Tuesday’s election and work with her on other duties and responsibilities.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.