40 years of public service

Published 9:52 pm Friday, July 25, 2014

It was once common for folks to work for just one or two different employers during the course of their careers, finally retiring from the last after decades of service. Today, however, it’s widely accepted that most people will work for a much broader variety of employers before finally retiring with just a few years of service for any one of those employers and a retirement account that has been built by personal financial managers (or, in some cases, by Social Security), instead of by a company accountant administering a long-term pension plan.

But there are still a few people in the world who believe in loyalty to their employers, and the city of Suffolk and its taxpaying citizens have benefited from the presence of one such person on the city’s administrative staff.

But after 40 years on the job in the Suffolk Treasurer’s Office, Sylvia Duck has decided it’s time to retire. She has worked for the city of Suffolk almost since its formation in the 1974 merger with the city of Nansemond. It was only her second job, her first being a three-year stint with American National Bank following her graduation from Forest Glen High School.


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Duck retired as chief deputy treasurer, having served two different elected treasurers, Bert Hazelwood and Ron Williams. Williams, the city’s current treasurer, joked during a retirement party for Duck this week that legally her job title put her “a heartbeat away from being the treasurer for the city of Suffolk.”

She clearly would have served well in that capacity, having demonstrated a heart for people in four decades behind the counter and the desk in the treasurer’s office.

Fortunately for the people of Suffolk, though, Duck has agreed not to make her departure complete. In January, she plans to return to the Treasurer’s Office to work part-time. That’s a good thing for the people of Suffolk and a great thing for the Treasurer’s Office. Nonetheless, Sylvia Duck has earned her retirement and all the stress-free days she can wrangle, and we wish her the best.