Courtesy photo Arlene Tuck in May 2006 as seen by many, deep in her work for the Town of Lake Placid.
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published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Arlene ready to Tuck into retirement
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
LAKE PLACID -- When Town Clerk Arlene Tuck retires on March 28, she will have served the town 25 years -- longer, if her three years as a city councilor are counted.
She was appointed town clerk in 1988 by Mayor Waldo Aliff with the approval of the town council.
That means in the last quarter century, Tuck has attended at least 600 city council and Local Planning Agency meetings. She's prepared 25 general fund budgets, and typed hundreds of thousands of letters, tax receipts, public notices, referendums, meeting agendas and minutes. She maintained the town's code book and conducted all town elections -- and she did all this (and more) while supervising daily Town Hall business and three secretaries.
"I have worked for seven mayors, well over 50 council members, three police chiefs, three town attorneys and many employees," Tuck said.
She has been honored by the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce three different years; been a mentor with Take Stock in Children; and worked with Keep Lake Placid Beautiful, among many other volunteer organizations.
Asked what she thought was her greatest accomplishment she replied, "When I started working for the town there was a time when we had to cash in some certificates of deposit to make payroll. At that time I determined when I retired I would not leave the town needing revenue.
"After many years of trying to keep expenses down, paying cash for everything we purchased -- due to the good advice of Raymond McIntyre, the county's property appraiser -- the town has a reserve account of over $600,000 and over $1 million cash in the general fund checking account."
Tuck added one of her proudest personal moments as a professional woman came when she became a Certified Municipal Clerk.
Since 1988 there have been many changes, of course. President George H.W. Bush was elected that year.
"When I started working for the town," Tuck said, "we still had ledger books, There were no computers except for utility billing. Since then we have completely computerized. No more onion skin paper; no more erasers."
She described other changes. "We have gone from a 45,000-gallon a day wastewater system, to over 250,000 gallons a day.
"We've gone from one sanitation truck to three; from a two-man police department to seven officers full time and two full-time secretaries. Our population has increased by about 50 percent -- from 1,120 residents to 2,285."
Tuck is proud the town rose to the challenge of meeting the needs of the enlarging population. "The town built a new operation and maintenance facility; a wastewater plant and lab; purchased a new police department building; and made many improvements to Lake June fields," she said. "We have started a special magistrate court and formed a utility advisory commission.
"We've installed many, many miles of roads and put in a lot of beautification."
As to the future, Tuck beams and relaxes back in her chair. "My plans for the future are 'to do what I want each and every day'."
With four grandsons and a granddaughter, she looks forward to attending all their special occasions and sporting events.
Tuck arrived in Lake Placid in 1958, and is a graduate of Lake Placid High School. After graduating she took a secretarial course and earned an Associate of Arts from South Florida State College, then the South Florida Community College.
Before working for the town, she was a legal secretary, working for the late Andrew B. Jackson for 15 years -- from 1966 to 1981.
In 1977 she was elected to the town council. She resigned in 1980 to move to California.
However, Tuck said, "My heart was still in Lake Placid and I moved back." She was only gone one year.
On returning she went to work as a legal secretary again, spending seven years with Michael A. Rider before being recruited by Mayor Aliff.
Since then Tuck's career has been all about the town.
"I am grateful I had the opportunity to serve the people of Lake Placid (as town clerk)," Tuck said with a wide smile, "but I think it's time for me to allow someone else the honor."
So Long (by: Town Friend - 2/27/2013)
Great job Arlene. Wishing you a great time in retirement. However, if we know you, you wont be down for long.
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