CUBA CITY—Consistency in government has been possible in Cuba City because of the long-time dedication by its clerk/treasurer, Kathy Schultz.
In April Schultz will be the longest-serving active clerk in Grant County when John Patterson, clerk of Beetown, retires. Patterson filed non-candidacy papers for the position after 38 years of service.
Schultz was approached by the city’s clerk/treasurer in 1977, Jerry Berning, who asked her to apply for the deputy clerk position. At the time Schultz was working at Cuba City State Bank. After two years as deputy clerk, Berning retired and Schultz ran for the vacant position, serving as clerk/treasurer for 34 years.
“I kind of just fell into the job and I stuck with it ever since,” Schultz said. “I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, including mayors and the council. I’ve worked with seven different mayors over the years.”
Schultz said technology has been the biggest change.
“When I first started working here, our accounting was done manually on great big ledger sheets,” Schultz said. “Even the utility billing was partially done manually. My first few years of tax bills I manually wrote all of them out.”
Schultz said she’s gone through four different types of billing systems since then.
“We thought it was a big advance when we went to a computer with the 8-inch floppy drives,” Schultz said. “That was awesome. Anymore, that was ancient.”
Schultz said another big change is that communication is instant, whereas before all decisions were dependent upon the mail system.
“Back then you didn’t have things as much in writing,” Schultz said. “Policies and procedures and technicalities, a lot of things were done on a handshake. That’s not really acceptable anymore.”
Schultz said the elections have changed drastically over the years.
“Everything has been computerized,” Schultz said. “There are a lot more laws and procedures pertaining to elections that weren’t in place before.”
She said the clerks had to take a core course for the election changes and earn continuing education credits every few years.
“You try to keep up as well as you can,” Schultz said. “I think this election year was the most stressful one I’ve ever had. A lot of changes came down over the last year and we did spend a lot of time training, for both me and the election workers, for the presidential election.”
Even the municipal building has undergone change. Approximately 15 years ago the building was remodeled following the construction of the fire and rescue building south of the city. The fire department and rescue squad were housed in the municipal building, along with the library, police department and clerk’s office.
“We were able to give everybody more space,” Schultz said. “It’s been great for everyone.”
As the city’s clerk/treasurer, Schultz is responsible for the utility billing, licensing, posting meeting agendas, taking minutes at city meetings, running the election and providing historical information for the council.
“Since I’ve been here for so long, sometimes people ask me about past events and why we do things the way we are now,” Schultz said. “There’s a little bit of history hidden up inside my head that I try to pull out every once in a while.”
After working for the city for 36 years, Schultz is talking about retiring, although a date hasn’t been set.
“My hope was [to retire] by the end of next year, but there are going to be some other changes around here within the next year or two and I don’t want the city to have to go through too many changes all at the same time,” Schultz said. “It might be a few months longer than that. My husband and I still have to figure that out.”
Schultz said she and her husband, Michael, were both born and raised in Cuba City. They have two children and three grandchildren in the Milwaukee area.
“I actually got married two months after I started working here, in October 1977,” Schultz said.