Sun Photo: William Thompson
Clara Rey, administrative assistant to the city manager, fields a request Wednesday from a city employee regarding employee benefits. Rey confers often with city employees and members of the public.
Many Tucumcari residents have gone to Clara Rey in search of information. Rey worked more than 20 years at the Tucumcari Public Library and for the past three years has been the administrative assistant to City Manager Richard Primrose.
“Working at the library was a lifesaver for my current job,” Rey said. “It has helped me immensely with contacts and research.”
Rey’s primary task in her current job is to help Primrose oversee the city’s welfare.
“Without Clara, my job would be impossible,” Primrose said. “She keeps me organized. She helps me keep good communication with department heads and she takes care of my scheduling and correspondence on top of all her other tasks.”
Rey’s other tasks include handling the billing for the city’s ambulance service, handling benefits for city employees, overseeing compliance issues and needs of the senior citizen centers and performing a variety of administrative tasks for other department heads in city government.
She also handles the duties of the city clerk, Rachel Hicklin, when Hicklin is away from her job.
“This job offers constant change,” Rey said. “You start out in the morning with your plan for the day, then all that has changed by the end of the day.”
Rey said her parents instilled in her a desire to give 110 percent effort in her work.
“My parents always said ‘an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,’” she said. “My dad sometimes worked two jobs if he had to. Some days are really hectic, but you just keep on working on one project at a time. There are always reports to do and letters to type.”
Rey must also field complaints.
“We listen to the citizen’s complaint and then we issue a work order or find out what the problem is,” Rey said. “A woman called (Tuesday) and said her trash had not been picked up for awhile. I called around and found out that one of the city waste trucks had been down and it was true the woman’s trash had not been picked up. We were able to put in a work order and her trash was picked up (Tuesday).”
Rey said all complaints are addressed by someone in city government and it is often her job to give follow-up phone calls to citizens.
“The main challenge of this job is, due to budget cuts, there is not enough staff out in the field,” she said. “The city workers know about things that need to be fixed and it is frustrating to them that they can’t get to work orders fast enough. They never quite get ahead of the amount of work they have each day.”
Rey said her job doesn’t end with the 5 o’clock whistle.
“People come up to me all the time with questions and complaints at church, the grocery store or anywhere in town,” she said.