The sounds of Jackie Velk punching buttons on the adding machine will soon end.
About six months shy of her 30th anniversary at her job, Minot's city treasurer will step aside to let someone else take over.
"It was just time for a change," she explained. "I think it's time for new blood."
James C. Falcon/MDN • Jackie Velk, Minot city treasurer, is busy at her desk at City Hall. Velk, who served in the capacity as city treasurer for 29 years, will retire next month to work for Sen. John Hoeven’s pending office in Minot.
James C. Falcon/MDN • Jackie Velk stands in the area where she worked years ago. Velk began her career with the city working in the Public Works and Utilities billing departments. She later worked in the city treasurer’s office for two years before being appointed to the position in September 1981.
Velk said the city is starting to get "a lot of new hires in with a lot of energy" that brings new things to the job.
During her junior year of high school here in Minot - Velk was born and raised here she began her career with the city. She worked part-time in the city engineer's office in the Public Works Department, doing book work and some surveying. When a full-time job opened for her in the utility billing department, she took it. Then, for two years, she worked in the city treasurer's office before being appointed.
It was in September 1981 when Velk was appointed to the position that she has held for close to 29 years.
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to email@example.com.
"Back then, I was 24 years old," Velk said. "I had worked under the previous city treasurer, Bob Frantsvog he was the city treasurer for many years. When he became finance director, he encouraged me to apply for that job, and I did. And I've been there ever since."
Velk was appointed to the office of city treasurer by the finance director and city manager.
"It's all about cash," she said about her job. Her job duties included negotiating relationships with the local banks and working with special investments. Velk's department also works with special assessments. When new housing developments spring up in the Magic City, her department levies the special assessments - water and sewer, for example - that come with the territory.
She also manages the utility billing department - the same offices where she once worked as a post-high school city clerk - and the water billing department.
Technology has changed since she took on the job in 1981.
"I used to be at the banks a lot more often," she remembered. "When we had pay day, I had to deliver the actual checks to the bank for all the employees."
Now, she can do all that with the Internet.
"That part has changed a lot. The whole technology thing has changed every facet of the job," she added. "But I also miss that part about being at the banks."
The public context is "very much at the top of my list" of what she enjoyed the most about her job. When she worked in the utility billing department, she got to know the customers.
"I usually got to deal with the ones that are really mad, and we do have a few of those," she recalled with a laugh.
There was also the camaraderie with her co-workers that comes with the job. A kinship starts to develop: After you have worked with someone for so long, they become family to you, she explained. Her family at home includes her husband, Steve, a vice-president of commercial operations at Bremer Bank. Her daughter, Mattie, 19, has left the nest, she said: Mattie works at a residential home for the Minot Vocational Workshop.
The pangs of retirement have been coming on for the past year, she said.
"I never had anything else, but this," she said, of her job. "I was looking for a change in my life as well."
Salvation for a return to community-based interaction soon followed in the form of Sen. John Hoeven. Velk was offered a position working for Hoeven, who will be opening an office in Minot - the target date is May 9. Velk will serve as the field representative for the northwest region of the state.
"I think I have the best region in the state, with everything going on," she said. "I'm excited about the activity here, and I can't wait to get out and about and back into the community again."
Velk has always been an ardent supporter of Hoeven, describing that she has "always had a deep respect for him." Now, she is part of his team, serving as his "eyes and ears in this region."
She will also remain as a visible presence in the education factor for the community. For the past six years, she has served as a member of the Minot Public School Board; for the last three, she has served as its vice-president. In addition, she is a member of the Board of North Dakota Workforce Development Commission and the Board of Dental Examiners.