November 14, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- Jeannie McCreery celebrated her 35th wedding anniversary with husband Mike the same day she took office as the new township clerk— Nov. 20, 2000.
Jeannie McCreery at her desk in the waning days of her third term as clerk of Brandon Township. McCreery will retire Nov. 20. Photo by David Fleet. (click for larger version)
A dozen years later, she is preparing to celebrate her 47th wedding anniversary, and will leave office the same day.
"I've come full circle," said McCreery on Tuesday, a week before her retirement.
McCreery held a variety of jobs before running for clerk in 2000. She was a waitress for many years, a substitute teacher, a business owner and was selling newspaper advertising when her daughter suggested she run for the clerk position.
"I made a good living selling ads, but I felt something was lacking and I wanted to find a way to give back, I wanted to serve," said McCreery. "Anyone who takes public office and doesn't want to serve shouldn't be there. I still want to serve, but the body is not there anymore."
McCreery has multiple sclerosis and fatigue makes it difficult for her to do the amount of work that needs to be done on a daily basis in the clerk's office. As fiscal officer for the township, the clerk pays all township bills, including payroll and insurance. The clerk's office is also responsible for township recordkeeping, meeting preparations, liquor licenses, passports, and of course, elections.
McCreery is also sexton for the township cemeteries and is in charge of obtaining grants for the senior citizen center transportation program, as well as applying for and disbursing Community Development Block Grants.
Still, she has enjoyed her job. In particular, she likes her co-workers and helping the citizens she serves.
She won't miss late nights at the office, nor the "craziness" she said the state legislature has created with election law changes.
"Between them and the federal government, they change the rules constantly," McCreery said. "They are rushing the ballot process through. They don't consider aspects of administering new procedures."
McCreery believes elections could be made easier for everyone if voting absentee without a reason were allowed.
"You shouldn't have to have a reason, it's none of our business," she said. "Who cares? If you are registered, you should be able to vote in the manner you want to. I would also love to have early voting, but who is going to do it? We don't have the staff or the budget."
The development of the Brandon Township Community Park is one of the accomplishments McCreery is most proud of during her time on the board, as well as budget cuts and grants during the past 12 years that have resulted in roughly half a million dollars savings to the township, creation of the Teens and Seniors Rocking and Raking program and her work with Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance Youth Recognition.
She is also proud of the atmosphere in the clerk's office, which she calls, "fun and friendly." She remembers fondly the day that a resident came to the window and said, "I must be in the right place, they said to come to where I could hear all the laughter."
"Our new clerk (Candee Allen) has the same type of personality— she treats people well and that is so important," McCreery said. "We're here to help people and I know that will carry on with the new clerk."
In retirement, McCreery plans to stay up as late and sleep in as late as she pleases, wear jeans and t-shirts and no makeup, go ziplining with her four grandchildren, all of whom live in the area, travel, and spend more time with Mike.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville