If callers have a question for the Columbia County Emergency Services Division or its director, Pam Tucker, the chances are that division Administrative Coordinator Suzie Hughes is the first person to whom they'll speak.
"She is always smiling and ready to help anyone who asks," Tucker said of the woman who handles much of the division's daily business. "When asked to do more, she always says, 'No problem,' even when her normal work is being interrupted."
Hughes is one of the many people working behind the scenes in offices across the county to be honored during National Administrative Professionals Week, especially today on Administrative Professionals Day.
Hughes, who has worked for the county for five years, makes sure the Emergency Services Division office runs smoothly by issuing check requests and purchase orders, exchanging information, maintaining grant reports, responding to the general public and performing numerous other functions that are part of the office's daily operations, Tucker said.
"It's a team effort with all of us in here," Hughes said. "I love the people I work with. The county is a good place to work. I love doing my job."
In Harlem, Mayor Scott Dean said three women are in charge of keeping the city running.
"They do all the detail work," Dean said of Bea Doody, Penny Salley and Dee Tapley.
Tapley, the administrative assistant and Planning and Zoning assistant, keeps track of City Manager Jean Dove's schedule.
"It's way hectic," Tapley said.
Doody, the city's accountants payable clerk for six years, is charged with paying all the city's bills.
Salley, Harlem's water clerk of more than a year, said she takes care of all the water billing.
"They are the glue that holds it all together," Dean said.
For county officials, decisions, resolutions, agendas and anything else involved with the county commission must go through Phebe Dent, the county clerk and president of the Evans Towne Center chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
"It's just constant changes," said Dent, who has been in the position for 12 years.
Phyllis Swain, administrative coordinator for the Management Services Division, and Linda Lindley, deputy county clerk, are part of a small group of administrative professionals honored with a proclamation at last week's commission meeting.
"They are an integral part of the county," county commission Chairman Ron Cross said of his support staff. "They are a very good staff willing to do whatever it takes to run the government."
Dent said the county employs 113 administrative professionals. To help them network with others, the IAAP meets at noon the second Tuesday of the month at the Facilities Conference Room at Evans Government Center in May, June, August and November, and in Evans Government Center auditorium in July and October.
For more information, call Dent at (706) 868-3376 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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