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Haarstad retiring from city after 33 years
By ASHLEY KAPSCH | For the Independent
After more than 33 years of serving in the City of Port Orchard’s financial department, assistant city treasurer Monica Haarstad is retiring Aug. 29 much to the understanding disappointment of her fellow staff, however, she will not be leaving quietly into the night.
On Aug. 26, the council approved a resolution — signed by Mayor Tim Matthes — that honored Haarstad for more than three decades of dedicated service. The resolution spoke of her humble beginnings serving the citizens of the city as a cashier then, after showing her astounding work ethic and friendly demeanor as assistant city treasurer and internal auditor. She started working with the city on Jan. 21, 1981.
“The performance Monica has provided the city for more than 33 years has been a great job,” said Councilman John Clauson, the senior member of the council. “Recognizing her characteristics as being very positive, being very thorough and paying attention to details are incredible. I’ve had the honor of working with Monica during the years I’ve been here.”
With an unblemished audit record with the State Auditor’s Office and her impeccable attention to detail made her a role model for public accountants. Her personnel file overflows with recognitions, letters of approval and further commendation from the past several years, according to City Treasurer Allan Martin.
“Monica was an integrated part of the office and will be greatly missed,” said Martin. “After the past five years of working directly with Haarstad, her retirement is a major loss even as it is a joy for her. It has been my pleasure to work with Monica and her amazing work ethic. She comes in every morning interested, friendly and ready to go.”
Martin said he has known Haarstad since 1989. He decided to come to work in Port Orchard — after many years with the state — because Haarstad was working in the city’s finance office.
Even Haarstad is a little disappointed to be leaving. The most difficult part about her career thus far — in her eyes — is having to retire.
“I think the most rewarding part of my job is knowing I’m doing my best for the public and I’m struggling with the fact that I’m not getting up and going to work every day,” Haarstad said.
Haarstad said she isn’t sure if City Hall would see a lot of one of their longest-termed employees
“I think it’s more of a distraction when prior people come in,” she said. “I would love to run in and talk, but as far as keeping tabs I think it’s better to distance yourself. I love the people I work with. The new people coming in need to have ownership with what’s going on and I think it’s best to let them do what they need to do.”
After her final day on the job, she has some family trips planned to keep herself busy. For the most part, however, she plans to spend her well-earned retirement enjoying every day even though she does not want to leave.
“People don’t stay like they used to,” she said. “They come in wither their 5- or 10-year plan then get out and I don’t want that for myself. I like who I work with and what I do, I don’t want to leave.”
A reception was held Aug. 27 at City Hall to honor Haarstad, who also was active in the Washington Finance Officers Association, the Puget Sound Finance Officers Association and served as president of the Washington Muncipal Treasurers Association.
“She is a real class act,” added Martin.