There’s a clear, plastic pop bottle on a shelf in the Wellington Town Hall. Slowly but surely, thanks to the encouragement of deputy clerk Cynthia Sullivan, it is filling up with dimes. “It will be worth $100 when it’s full,” Cynthia said. She’s collecting the money for the Relay for Life of Wellington walk in which she plans to participate.
She loves to walk and hike and has done a three-day breast cancer walk from Boulder to Arvada and three, two-day Keystone to Breckridge walks consisting of a 26-mile day and a 13-mile day. She commits to at least one charity walk every year and likes supporting cancer care and research as the disease has affected her family.
And she’s always up for a hike close to home or in the hills.
“Give me a trail, and I’m gone,” she said.
She and her husband, Michael, often take off in their camper to spots like Horsetooth Reservoir and Steamboat Springs. Cynthia usually seeks out a hiking trail while Michael goes fishing.
The most exciting experience the couple had on the road involved getting their four-wheel drive vehicle stuck in mud in Dinosaur National Park, abandoning it and alternating walking and snoozing through the night until they arrived at a campsite in the morning.
“We walked about 12 miles before we were lucky enough to run into a couple who took us to the visitor center, where we cleaned up some before we were taken to Vernal, Utah. There, we bought some food and clothes at Walmart and waited out the weekend until our car could be retrieved.”
Cynthia says that now they both know just what to pack for an excursion and take along should you have to hike to civilization.
The pair moved to Colorado from Indiana in 1992. After a short time as residents of Fort Collins, they moved out because they wanted a smaller town in which to build their home. They’ve been in Wellington ever since.
Almost 17 years ago, Cynthia switched from a clean-room job at Symbios Logic in Fort Collins to a position with the Town of Wellington. She was hired as deputy clerk — upping the town hall staff to three. She joined then-administrator Kevin Burke and finance director Mike Cummins.
“I was ready to return to office work,” Cynthia said.
The match was a good one as Cynthia has put to use her degrees in business administration and management information systems earned at Indiana State University in her hometown of Terre Haute. She chose to pursue a second degree because she wanted more specifics than she’d encountered as a business major.
“I’m not a techie person,” she explains.
Her strong suit is using technology to do the work required to manage the town’s business — everything from official records and documents to elections. One year, she actually designed and printed the ballots. She also serves as secretary for the board of trustees and the planning commission. At one time, she did the water billing for the town.
Following many hours of education and three years’ attendance at the Clerk’s Institute, Cynthia earned her Certified Municipal Clerk designation in 2005. Her job has many facets, and she enjoys them all, but says, “The people I meet are the best part of my job.”
She has lots of experience with the hoops that developers and businesses must navigate in order to do business in town, and she works hard to facilitate the processes for them. In the early years, there was growth, about one development or annexation per year. But Cynthia recalls a recent year when she processed seven applications, a sure indication of increasing growth.
“Cynthia embodies the true character of a clerk in that she is neutral and diplomatic, has a strong working relationship with the Board of Trustees and other advisory boards and is a dedicated employee of the town,” said assistant town administrator Alisa Darrow. Darrow also shared that Cynthia is working toward designation as a master municipal clerk and plans to attend an academy toward that end this winter.
This woman, who wears so many hats, is organized and an organizer. “But you wouldn’t know that to look at my desk,” she said.
Cynthia has worked with three town administrators and an interim one during her time in the clerk’s job. Larry Lorentzen has been town administrator for more than 10 years.
“After Kevin Burke left, we had no one in charge for a while, and Don Irwin, mayor at the time, and I had to fill in,” Cynthia said. The learning curve was steep, but they managed. Cynthia says that another aspect of the job she appreciates is the continuing opportunity to learn new things.
She sees growth as a major issue for Wellington.
“We’ve gone through lots of growing pains, but I think we have now figured out how to grow responsibly,” she said. “But it keeps us hopping.”
She explained that during the recession, which began in 2008, the town was able to survive despite the drop off in new home construction. “There was enough commercial development — such as a grocery store and a doctor’s office – that we were able to maintain.”
When she’s not at her desk or busy involved with a trustees or planning commission meeting, Cynthia likes to relax by walking her beagle named Moose, knitting and crocheting, or cheering on the Avalanche, her favorite sports team.
When you enter town hall, look for the lady with the enviable head of naturally curly blonde hair. That’s Cynthia, and whether you need a packet of documents to guide you through a planned project or just want to chat, she’ll be there to help.
Don’t forget to put a couple of dimes in her pop bottle. That will make her happy.
Today, the staff at the town hall numbers eight, an indication of the growth that has occurred in Wellington. The population was 2,900 when Cynthia began her job; and now it is close to 7,000.