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The passing of the torch

Posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

Elsberry Mayor Steve Wilch presented retiring Elsberry City Clerk Jo Ann Cordsiemon with a plaque in honor of her 37 years of service to the city.

Elsberry Mayor Steve Wilch presented retiring Elsberry City Clerk Jo Ann Cordsiemon with a plaque in honor of her 37 years of service to the city.

The resignation of Elsberry City Clerk Jo Ann Cordsiemon has marked the end of an era at city hall and her friends, family and many past and present coworkers showed up in large numbers on July 29 to honor the years of service she has given to the community and to wish her well in retirement.

Elsberry Mayor Steve Wilch presided over the event, which was held at the Elsberry City Hall.

Some of the featured speakers that night included Jay Gourley of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, Alderman Brent Rockwell, Cordsiemon’s sons Ron, Brian and Brad, City Attorney Rob Guinness and former mayor Don Slaughter.

“We’ve done millions of dollars worth of projects successfully and Jo Ann has been an integral part of that,” said Gourley. “It wouldn’t have happened without her to be honest about it.”

Rockwell complemented Cordsiemon on her years of tireless devotion to what he called a “thankless job”.

“Anytime anyone has a complaint you’re the first desk they see,” said Rockwell.

Ron Cordsiemon, Jo Ann’s oldest son, told the crowd that he and his younger brothers simply couldn’t remember a time when their mother wasn’t working for the city of Elsberry in some capacity.

“She loves this town with all her heart,” said Ron. “This town has been her life.”

Cordsiemon was also presented with a certificate in recognition of her 37 years of dedication to the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association. Presenting the certificate were Troy City Clerk Jodi L. Schneider and Wentzville City Clerk Vitula Skillman.

Cordsiemon was also presented with a certificate in recognition of her 37 years of dedication to the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association. Presenting the certificate were Troy City Clerk Jodi L. Schneider and Wentzville City Clerk Vitula Skillman.

Cordsiemon has served as the city clerk for the last 37 years.

Prior to becoming clerk, she also served for three years on the city council.

“I ran for a position on the city council back in 1975,” said Cordsiemon. “I was working for The Elsberry Democrat at the time and I could tell from reading through the city council minutes that things were a little screwed up. I decided I was going to run, get elected and then change the world.”

After Cordsiemon had been on the board for three years the current city clerk passed away.

“Mr. Dixon had been the clerk for approximately 30 years or so,” said Cordsiemon. “The board members asked me if I wanted to fill his position and the rest is history.”

Ron Cordsiemon said his mother has been fortunate to work for some very good mayors and alderman over the years who have given her the freedom to do her job and also provided her with the support that she needed.

Although he said he is glad to see his mother retire and thinks it should have happened sooner, he added that she isn’t likely to remain idle for very long.

“I don’t believe my mom is done being an active part of this community,” said Ron Cordsiemon. “My mom has always given her best to Elsberry and I’m sure she will continue to do so even into retirement.”

Cordsiemon’s oldest son Ron [at center] read a speech in which he saluted his mother’s many years of dedication to the city of Elsberry. He was joined by his brothers Brad [at right] and Brian [at far left].

Cordsiemon’s oldest son Ron [at center] read a speech in which he saluted his mother’s many years of dedication to the city of Elsberry. He was joined by his brothers Brad [at right] and Brian [at far left].

The city clerks from Wentzville and Troy were also in attendance that night and presented Cordsiemon with a certificate and pin commemorating her induction into the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association “Circle of Friends”.

Cordsiemon has been a member of the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association for 37 years.

“Jo Ann was able to do so much for the city and the people that she loved,” said City Attorney Rob Guinness. “She made it a very vibrant and fun place to be and she was a constant booster of Elsberry. She made city government very efficient and very professional. Elsberry is a better place because of Jo Ann.”

Former mayor Don Slaughter added that Cordsiemon was always more than a city clerk.

“She was a doctor, an attorney, a mother and a friend,” said Slaughter. “Anything you wanted, Jo Ann was it and we’re going to miss that.”

Former Louisiana City Clerk Sharon KaKouris officially assumed Cordsiemon’s duties on Aug. 3.

“Sharon was the city clerk in Louisiana for 14 1/2 years,” said Cordsiemon in a separate interview. “She’s definitely aware of what goes on in the city clerk’s office. I’m sure she’ll be able to handle herself.”