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Allen leaves legacy of service to City of Bedias

July 20, 2022 - 00:00
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    Retired Bedias City Secretary Sharon Allen thanked city leaders and well-wishers saying, "It's been an honor to be a part of the things that go on in our city:' Pictured left to right: Mayor Pro Tern Robert Upchurch, Alderman Walt Rogers, retired City Sec

BEDIAS — Bedias residents joined Mayor Gwen Boullion and city alderman at the Bedias Civic Center, Thursday, July 14, to honor 18 years of dedicated service and bid farewell to retired City Secretary Sharon Allen. Allen was the City’s first and only City Secretary upon its incorporation November 2003 and her swearing in January 2004 until her official retirement in April.

In her presentation, Boullion described her working relationship with Allen after becoming Mayor in 2018, saying, “She took me under her wing and taught me everything. I wouldn’t know half the stuff I know if it weren’t for her. I want to thank her for everything she does and continues to do.”

Allen, an Oklahoma native, was vice president of a property management company before her retirement and subsequent move to Bedias in 1999. Allen said, “I hadn’t planned on going back to work but after the first city council meeting I went to, they called and asked me if I’d do it.” Laughing she said, “I think if I had known everything I’d have to do, I might have said no.”

Needs exceed income

In small towns with big needs and small budgets, the city secretary often wears multiple hats, and Allen readily accepted the challenge. She prepared the budget approved by city council, tracked income and expenditures, admin istered grant payments, prepared agendas, city council packets, public postings and took seriously her responsibility to keep the mayor informed.

From Allen’s perspective, the biggest challenge facing small municipalities like Bedias is money. “We’re a small city,” said Allen. “The income is never enough. If the City had the money it needed to do what it wanted, some of our roads wouldn’t be in the condition they’re in. However, we’re continuously getting grants to improve our roads.”

Memorable moments

Allen has nothing but praise for both mayors she served. One of the most memorable moments of her tenure was watching Bedias’ inaugural Mayor Mackie Bobo-White’s appeal in Austin for $5 million in grant funds for the City’s sewer system.

Allen said, “To watch Mackie talking to these people and not taking ‘no’ for an answer - she was impressive! The City would not have our sewer system if it weren’t for Mackie.” She continued, “What Gwen has done for this City is incredible. She is a workhorse! I can’t give her enough credit.”

Of the decision to retire and move closer to family, Allen said, “It was time” for her and husband Dwayne. Having immersed herself in the community at the Bedias Baptist Church, Bedias Civic Club, Bedias Women Club as well as being a prolific quilter, Allen acknowledged retirement will be a change of pace.

Noting that she will miss her church family most of all, Allen added, “Working for the city evolved, things I’ve done in the organizations I’ve been a part of, each one, they’re special to me.”