Talk about a bombshell.
Alpena County commissioners were in shock Thursday to learn the news that County Treasurer Joelyn McCallum will retire at the end of the year.
After 36 years in county government, McCallum decided now was the time to retire and spend more time with her family.
We couldn't be more happy for such a wonderful and deserving person. Nor, could we worry more about the county's future with McCallum gone.
Make no mistake, McCallum is the glue that keeps the county together. As the guardian of the county purse strings, nothing gets approved without her support and if she senses times are getting tough, she quickly moves to have commissioners enact spending restrictions.
"Joelyn is an anchor for us and has meant so much to this county," board of commissioners Chairman Cam Habermehl. "No matter who takes her place, they are going to have some huge shoes to fill."
That's for sure.
McCallum is one of the most gracious, professional, and caring women we've met. She is a joy to know and work with.
She also is the best "watchdog" we've ever met when it comes to county finances. Frankly, she is a "bulldog" when she needs to be with other county department heads who don't "tow the line" with their department's finances. Many a department head soon learns that when McCallum makes a request, she means it.
We always felt comfortable that with McCallum in place, county finances always would be kept in good shape and funds never would evaporate foolishly.
We believe that will be the case as well with her successor.
Still, when you lose 36 years of experience, you lose a lot.