Printed on: October 03, 2012

Institutional knowledge

City Clerk Rose Anderson helps write the official history of I.F.

By Clark Corbin

Mayor Jared Fuhriman considers City Clerk Rose Anderson more than a trusted adviser.

Anderson, Fuhriman said, holds the city together.

"One word: invaluable," he said. "People could take this the wrong way, but literally the reason we have such great continuity here is she is the glue, right here."

Anderson began working for the city in 1976 in a secretarial position within the public works division. She became city clerk in 1994 and has served the city under two administrations -- Fuhriman and former Mayor Linda Milam. During that time, she's also worked with dozens of council members.

In addition to public works, Anderson also has worked in the city's Planning and Building, Municipal Services and personnel departments. Additionally, she spent time as a civilian working for the Idaho Falls Police Department.

As a result, Anderson holds institutional knowledge that Fuhriman and others seek out.

"She's got the history," Fuhriman said. "She's been here, been established, seen different administrations. She's got a wonderful perspective, and I lean on that quite a bit."

Although clerks do not receive the accolades or attention a public figure like the mayor receives, Municipal Services Director Craig Lords said Anderson is just as valuable an asset.

"The one thing I really appreciate about what a clerk does is she really is kind of the public face of the city in a sense," Lords said. "If you walk in (to City Hall) and need a license or a record or whatever the case may be, she is the one who is there."

In practice, Anderson serves as the city's records custodian. She maintains City Council minutes, ensures agenda items make it from the division directors to council members, arranges municipal cemetery plots and records and processes license applications.

Every two years, she also helps county officials with municipal elections and apprising would-be candidates of job and reporting requirements.

In keeping council meeting records, Lords said Anderson helps write the history of the city's business.

"She's a workhorse," Lords said. "It takes a special kind of talent to make sure you get what is said and done (at meetings) for the sake of history and clarity."

Anderson enjoys two aspects of her job above any other -- helping residents and city employees with records, and the front-row seat she gets in watching the city's history unfold.

Anderson and her husband, Steve (a retired city engineering administrator), enjoy watching a project such as Ryder Park, Memorial Drive or the D Street underpass morph from discussion to proposal to a finished project.

"It's kind of neat to see the changes take place over time," Anderson said. "Look at the D Street underpass project (that is slated to begin construction this year). For the longest time, everybody thought we would just have this rickety old underpass forever."

One of Anderson's longtime projects is scanning and transcribing old city records, dating to 1889. Anderson has devoted about a decade to preserving those records, a job that gives her insight into quirky outdated ordinances and the accomplishments of historic leaders such as former mayor and Gov. Barzilla Clark.

"It's funny," Anderson said. "I was typing in some old ordinances and one said something to the effect you shall not spit on public sidewalks or else ..."

Clark Corbin can be reached at 542-6761.