Friday, November 30, 2007

We'll miss her

Today is Virginia Fischer's last day at the Lincoln Police Department. My loyal and trustworthy executive secretary retires after 42 years, serving five chiefs of police in nine mayoral administrations. She started for $1.36/hr a few days after Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater.

She is simply the best. You could not find a more competent and committed colleague. Over the years, her job has become less like an executive secretary, and more like an office manager for the entire department. She trouble shoots the most bizarre and complex correspondence and phone calls, moving people toward the assistance they seek. She is the scheduler of assignment changes, work requests and appointments, expediter of City Council and news media inquiries, organizer of meetings, publisher of agendas, author of minutes, reviewer of documents and correspondence, and keeper of archives for everyone--not just me. She's done this superbly from onion skin and carbon paper through .pdfs and web servers.

Virginia has been knee-deep in this City's deepest secrets and dirtiest scandals. As the chief's executive secretary, she's the person who has been called upon to transcribe the most confidential reports and statements in those cases. Think back to all those headlines. The same thing is true internally, where Virginia has handled the transcription needs for every case of passing through the Internal Affairs Unit. She's been the witness to all our failings, foibles, and missteps. The stories she could tell about the high and the mighty! But everyone knows a secret is safe with her.

What's truly remarkable is that despite carrying this load, she is the first to look past the bad conduct and see the good in everyone. She forgives, and focuses on the humanity of others and the good in all. The parade of new puppies, new babies, wedding photos, graduation announcements, new family photos, and so forth that flow into her office on a daily basis is a testament to how much everyone at LPD wants to share their joy with her. The same is true of bad news--frightening diagnoses, deaths, tragedies. Virginia listens, Virginia cares, you know that Virginia means it from the depth of her heart when she asks you how you are. She lives her faith through her work, and it rubs off on all of us.

I've been blessed not only with a great assistant who has made my job so much smoother, but a great friend who has cried and celebrated with me. She'll be sorely missed, but we all wish her the best in retirment.

Virginia, enjoy more Operas!


Anonymous said...

Yes, Santa....there IS a Virginia!

Anonymous said...

I think one has to work in this business to appreciate the longevity and perseverance of someone like Virginia. Sgt. Mark Merwick was another example who is now retired and missed, and so too will be the one and only Ms. Fischer.

Gene Armstead said...

Omagod - Virginia has retired? I don't check this blog as often as I should, and here I miss what may be the biggest story of the year, and I'm three days late. I can testify to everything the Chief said. Virginia has been one of the most important people in the history of the Department.
Good luck, Virginia. I know the Department will miss you.
Gene (aka Clean)