McGarvin is last charter member of municipal recorders association

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego Deputy City Recorder Jane McGarvin stands in council chambers at city hall. After working for the city for 18 years, McGarvin will retire at the end of December.After more than four decades spent working for various governments, Lake Oswego Deputy City Recorder Jane McGarvin is retiring.

McGarvin accepted a distinguished service award to a standing ovation at a council meeting Oct. 23. She plans to stop working for the city at the end of December.

It wasn’t the first award she has received for her efforts over the years. Council president Sally Moncrieff enumerated McGarvin’s past associations and accomplishments at the meeting.

“In 47 years, Jane has quite a career history,” Moncrieff said.

McGarvin, who lives in east Multnomah County, is the last working charter member of the Oregon Association of Municipal Recorders.

She was appointed membership chairwoman of the association at its charter meeting in 1983. She has served in various offices for the organization since then. As the head of the group’s Internet committee in 1999, she created its first website. She also helped document the association’s history.

The title of city recorder, city secretary, town clerk or municipal clerk is held by the “oldest of public servants,” according to the association, which aims to preserve the “honor and dignity established by our predecessors.” The job entails serving a broad cross section of municipal government, including elected lawmakers, city administrators and department heads, and citizens. It requires attention to detail and accuracy and often involves long hours.

In Lake Oswego, McGarvin has a range of duties, among them overseeing recruitment for all of the city’s boards and commissions, which are made up of volunteers.

“That in itself is quite a task,” Moncrieff said.

McGarvin received an award in 1996 for putting together the municipal recorders group’s history. She has also participated in the Oregon chapter of ARMA (Association of Record Managers and Administrators) International, which named her Oregon ARMA’s member of the year in 2008. She oversees publication of the ARMA chapter’s newsletter, which has won best newsletter of the year from the international professional association the past four years in a row.

She also recently received a special merit award from the ARMA chapter for her decades of service to the Oregon Association of Municipal Recorders.

“I have great memories of all my positions,” McGarvin said, noting one of her biggest accomplishments was working to update Multnomah County’s code, a process that took two years to complete.

Throughout her career, she has also worked for the city of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and the cities of Sandy, Gresham and Tigard. She has worked for Lake Oswego since 1994.

She noted that in 2004, she was “loaned” to the city of Tigard to fill in there as city recorder, a job requiring her to serve as recording secretary and the city’s elections officer. She made sure “all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed” on ballot measure language for the attempted annexation that year of Bull Mountain.

“Many people have asked ‘how will the city manager’s office operate without you because you do so much and know so much?’” McGarvin said. “My response is to quote something from ‘The Indispensable Employee.’ It states: When you put your hand in a bucket of water, swish it around. The hole that remains when you take your hand out is how much you’ll be missed.

“Life — and work — goes on.”

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