Long-time city staffers Luers, Watterson honored at retirement ceremonies during city council meeting

Sep 22, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The City of Riverton said goodbye to two long-time employees this month: community development director Sandy Luers and sanitation operator Jim Watterson.

Both retired this month after contributing two decades of their lives to serving the city.

Interim city administrator Courtney Bohlender described Luers as a wonderful public servant who possesses several attributes that are often required of a person in her position.

"I look for humbleness, because we serve others before we serve ourselves," Bohlender said. "And we look for generosity... when it comes to time because it takes a lot of time to be a public servant."

It also takes a lot of effort to serve, she added, as municipal employees have to follow the rules and "be right every time."

Luers first served on the city's board of appeals for four years, helping advise the mayor and council on building and construction matters.

According to the city, the board also hears and decides appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the building official regarding applications and interpretations of adopted codes.

At the time Luers was working for Majors Equipment, a general contractor and design-build company in Riverton.

"I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to learn all about construction and code and all those types of things that I did for 30 years," Luers said. "It gave me the background to then serve on the board of appeals."

When John Vincent was mayor, he and former public works director Bill Urbigkit encouraged Luers to run for city council. She did so and served for four years.

"I learned a ton about the city at that time," she said. "Also, l learned about the political side."

The city decided she was worth keeping, Bohlender said, and Luers applied for the community development director job, a position she said she was privileged and honored to have.

"I know I'll miss it, but I am looking forward to spending time in other places besides City Hall," Luers said.

Luers's husband Don also became an asset to the city, Bohlender added, as he served as a solid supporter for Luers.

"When we hired Sandy, we hired a partnership," Bohlender said. "So I think it's also important to thank Don for the time that he has committed to his wife being an excellent public servant."

The public is invited to an open house for Luers noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 29.

Watterson has operated just about every piece of equipment the city owns in the public works department.

In his first 15 years with the city, Watterson operated the city's tub grinder, which is used to process yard waste.

"That service that our city loves, of getting their green waste out and collected... Jim ran basically the large piece of equipment that ground it down to something manageable, something we could sell," public works director Kyle Butterfield said.

Watterson also has operated garbage trucks, dump trucks, graders, backhoes and loaders over the course of 20 years, holding several different positions with the city, including three promotions, according to Butterfield, who called Watterson a great city employee who deserves recognition.

Watterson received a pocket watch from the city engraved with his name, his years of service and title upon retirement.

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