By Debbie Dakin
Licking City Clerk/City Administrator Renee Keaton started working for the city in April 2008. Her hard work and dedication paid off and she was promoted to Deputy Clerk in 2010. When Myrna VanDeusen retired in August of 2012, Renee was named full time City Clerk. In January 2015 she was also named City Administrator.
Keaton doesn’t have one of those 9 to 5 jobs. It is her duty to attend all board meetings, even after hours, – Board of Aldermen, Planning and Zoning Board, and Board of Adjustment. It’s her duty to take minutes at these meetings and keep records and journals of all.
Her primary purpose is to plan, organize and direct all activities associated with the City of Licking, seeing that all jobs are completed in a timely manner and all legal requirements are met. She is the Chief Administrative Assistant to the Mayor and as such is the Administrative Officer of the City Government. It is her duty to supervise city personnel, she is custodian of the City Seal, ordinances and resolutions, she coordinates legal issues with attorneys, administers leases of City property, prepares and administers grant requests and performs other duties as directed. There are lots more duties including a lot of paperwork and records to keep
I asked Keaton what she felt had been her biggest personal challenge. “The leadership role,” she responded. “That’s a big part of my job and the transition was a challenge.”
Keaton feels the biggest challenge Licking is facing is growth. She acknowledged the need of bringing in businesses, but as she also pointed out, at the time we have no available places to put them. She also pointed out how Licking is land-locked and we are limited in growing past our current city limits. Sadly, at this time there is nothing on the horizon to brighten the hopes of those wishing to see job opportunities grow.
Plans are underway to start improving the infrastructure of the city, for example the water lines. In the past when the new water tower by the prison went down Keaton said it was really hard on Licking’s water lines. They hope improving these lines will keep the city from having to deal with those difficult issues again.
“Licking is doing okay,” said Keaton. “We are in the black. We are very conservative and try to stay on budget. We try not to do a lot of extra spending, and my guys are good about not spending foolishly. Of course if we need something to function we have to get it.”
Keaton is busy not only with the business of the city, she is also busy with her family, her husband and two children. So why does she do this?
“I grew up here,” said Keaton. “I love my little town and I love my job.”