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Village clerk wins state award



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July 13, 2011 - One employee of Lake Orion Village has been honored at the state level.

Thanks to her diligence, organizational skills and persistence of improvement, Arlene Nichols, Lake Orion Village Clerk of over 15 years, has been awarded the 2011 Village Clerk of the Year award from the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks.

Her colleagues in village offices rank amongst her biggest fans, including Manager Paul Zelenak who said her experience helped him when first easing into his job responsibilities.

"She's very knowledgable, can answer nearly any question about the office, and knows where things are," said Zelenak. "It's nice to have someone who has a complete knowledge of the office and community. Her skills often do not get measured in times she's helped because her duty is a constant.

"People like her are very hard to find, and we're really lucky to have her."

Treasurer Willa Smitko and Office Manager Charlotte Patton agreed with Zelenak, and offered many of the same compliments.

"When I met her he a little under 10 years ago, I very quickly see how organized she is, and when you ask for something, she can go right to it and pull it out," said Smitko. "She's very committed to her job - she's the first in in the morning and often the last one out at night.

"The whole office is very proud of her."

Patton met Nichols before she became the Village clerk, and remarked on her organizational aptitude even before seeing her in a professional setting.

"Her attention to detail shows through in everything she does," said Patton. "She loves to cook, and she'll not only organize everything, but label them 'good,' 'okay,' or 'not so good.'

"During voting time, she works like clockwork and always has everything ready to go. She always has every possible scenario planned out and still has a great sense of humor."

Her good impressions travel outside of Village Government offices as well, particularly with Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh. Narsh personally did her background investigation when Nichols was initially being hired in. He said his impression of her was high before he'd even met her.

"I traveled around Michigan doing background investigations for all the clerks who had applied at the time," said Narsh. "When I went Owasso (Nichols home town) it was clear she was not only liked but respected and revered for her work. Everyone I spoke with said Nichols was a tremendous individual.

"She's meticulous, professional, friendly, and just has a natural ability to coordinate files."

Nichols joined the Village of Lake Orion governmental offices in the summer of 1994 under Manager John Berchtold.

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