The Villager has honored an outstanding man, woman, or couple of the year for decades. We take nominations for these awards and make our selection for these honors by our staff observing Villagers at work in our communities.
Generally, the selection goes to longtime residents with distinguished careers in business and community service.
The Shining Star award goes to a younger person starting their career in business, nonprofit work or governmental service. We’re honoring an individual who goes beyond the normal workday to achieve a higher level of service to others and to their community.
A “Rising Star” brightens lives in their occupation. Be on the lookout for someone to nominate for the award next year.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Cherry Hills Village City Clerk Laura Gillespie holds a master’s degree from New York’s Columbia University in conservation biology and a bachelor’s degree in biology and Spanish from the University of Denver. Originally from northern California, she grew up in Centennial, graduating from Eaglecrest High School.
After working for several nonprofits in the area of conservation, Gillespie said during an interview, she realized she decided to change her focus to a career that included a more structured environment. She accepted an offer to become city clerk of CHV in 2009 and has never looked back.
Gillespie is the behind-the-scenes glue of city government in CHV. She is responsible for all official records, including ordinances, resolutions and minutes of city council and its liquor-licensing authority. She is also responsible for all aspects of elections in CHV, including voter registration, ballot preparation and releasing results, though CHV has participated in coordinated elections with Arapahoe County since 2012, which has significantly increased voter turnout and reduced costs.
Well-known by all who visit city hall for being as pleasant and helpful as she is knowledgeable, Gillespie said that what she likes best about her job is the variety of duties she does. With a full-time city staff of around 50, including sworn law enforcement personnel, Gillespie often handles front desk duties, website updates, and is even the person responsible for swearing in newly elected city officials, including city council members and the mayor.
She is an active member of the Colorado Municipal Clerks Association. Having received her first-level certification, she is presently working on the next level, master city clerk. Gillespie credits the Colorado Municipal League for maintaining a list-serve that allows city clerks statewide to exchange information and ideas, which helps everyone.
Followers of CHV government are grateful for the complete and transparent minutes Gillespie maintains of city council meetings. She said that it has been a longstanding tradition in CHV that allows newer city council members and city staff to better understand why actions were taken in the past.
Gillespie said that her biggest challenge is serving the public with a small staff, but that is also what makes her job as city clerk so interesting.
She and her husband are expecting their first child this spring. Being a good planner, Gillespie has saved her time off and expects to be gone just eight weeks before returning to her duties, even though federal law allows 12. She is excited to take up residency in the new city hall building, especially happy that it has meeting space for residents to hold meetings, a benefit for the Cherry Hills Village community.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |