Clerk’s retirement means changes for district

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

School District 55 payroll clerk Jill Namitz is retiring after 17 1/2 years, and the district will begin using the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District to do its payroll.

Namitz, with coworker Teri Lowery, has handled human resources for the district, including setting up insurance and retirement for new hires. Their other duties have been to handle time cards, Public Employees Retirement System contributions, workman’s compensation and similar work, “everything that has to do with payroll.”

They handle some 450 employees counting subs, temps and other staff, she said.

“If I never deal with insurance again, it’ll be too soon,” she said, but overall she loved the job. She said she will miss the people most of all.

“I enjoyed it,” she said. “It took me awhile to decide to retire. I wasn’t ready maybe two years ago. I’m ready now. They’re making some big changes around here.”

Namitz grew up in Sweet Home after moving with her family from Minnesota while she was in the second grade. She graduated from Sweet Home High School as did her brothers and sisters and children. Her grandchildren, Drew and Colton Emmert, attend SHHS and are busy playing basketball for the Huskies.

Her daughter and son-in-law, Julie and Scott Emmert, live in Sweet Home. Julie Emmert works for the district in the Hawthorne office.

“I was a stay-at-home mom until ’79 when one kid was going into high school and one into junior high,” she said. At that point, she went to work for Boise Cascade, the mill just west of town at the west end of the Narrows.

Boise Cascade sold, and she went to work briefly for Willamette Industries in Lebanon and then returned to the same mill, Pleasant Valley Plywood, then owned by Wheeler, Inc. It sold again, and she continued to work there briefly.

It was the late 1980s, she said. “I thought I’d better get out of the wood products industry. When you’ve worked at a mill that had three different owners who kept selling out, you knew it (timber) was on its way out.”

She started working for the district when Toy Royer called her to substitute for her at the district’s maintenance office. That soon worked into a permanent position in the business office.

Namitz plans to be a stay-at-home grandma or a “stay-at-home husband sitter,” she said. She plans to keep busy and travel. She’s planning a trip to Hawaii early this year. She also has plenty to do at home, and she’s looking forward to enjoying her summer off.

With Namitz retiring, “we’re going to be doing some payroll here in the business office,” Business Manager Kevin Strong said, but primary payroll will be contracted to the LBL-ESD, which also handles payroll for other districts.

“The primary reason we’re doing it is so we can put more money into the classrooms,” he said. Contracting with the ESD will cost less than maintaining the position in the district.