Gladstone's Maria Aikin will be dearly missed
Each month I continue to "look for the good in government" and was very excited to write about the new civic building projects (City Hall and Police Department) in the city of Gladstone's newsletter last month, but then something unexpected happened: We lost one of our city employees. Maria Aikin passed away on Sept. 4. My excitement suddenly turned to sadness.
Maria had been employed with the city since 2011. She worked as the administrative assistant for Police Chiefs Jeff Jolley and Jim Pride. Her position, I believe, is one of the most sought-after positions in any municipality. I may be prejudiced, but I can say that, because that is the position I held when I started my career in local government 18 years ago. I envied Maria because she knew everything that was happening in this small town and she was responsible for taking care of the police officers (and usually their significant others). She served as the central communication link between the police chief's office, law enforcement, civilian staff and the general public. Maria handled administrative procedures such as budgets, equipment purchases and staff communication, and made recommended improvements. Her position performed confidential duties for all of the department functions.
Gladstone is a small town and in a time of crisis, we take care of our own. There is no procedure on how to grieve properly and I hope there never is. Maria wanted so much to be part of the new police department, so now my sadness is focused on making sure that happens. Please remember that finding the "good in government" sometimes comes from within, and Maria was our "good in government." Thank you for your service, Maria. You will be missed.
Jacque Betz is Gladstone's acting city administrator.