Cindy Stanley keeps a close eye on how Marion’s tax dollars are spent.
“She questions everything,” said Town Manager Bill Rush earlier this week. He’s delighted by her thoughtful and careful attention to detail. “All financial pathways go through her,” he said, noting that even he has to go through Stanley to make a purchase for the town.
While she’s humble about her work, Rush isn’t, declaring earlier this week, “She’s phenomenal.” He nominated her for the 2018 Clerk of the Year Award from the Virginia Municipal Clerks Association.
When Stanley won the award a few weeks ago, she was shocked and surprised. Rush wasn’t. He was part of a contingent hiding backstage to join in the celebration. Stanley acknowledged that she was caught so off guard that she had “hardly any words,” but she was delighted to be joined by Rush, Marion Mayor David Helms, Deputy Clerk Samantha White and her fiancé, Billy Hamm.
Even though Stanley had previously served on the committee that selects the Clerk of the Year, she said, everyone managed “to keep it a big secret.”
The Chilhowie native who now resides in Sugar Grove enjoys working with numbers, which serves her well as she helps develop and manage Marion’s budget. That budget is on track to exceed $14.3 million for 2019-20.
As clerk, she also records the minutes of town council meetings and supervises seven employees.
She’s spent the better part of 20 years earning her place in the town hall. She joined the town staff in October 2000 as a program support technician in the purchasing department. In early 2010, she stepped into the deputy clerk’s post. Just 15 months later, the town council appointed her as clerk and director of finances in May 2011.
While much of her work is done behind the scenes, Stanley is proud to help the community. “I enjoy being an integral part of moving the town forward for the betterment of citizens.”
Stanley also works to keep learning to better serve citizens. In 2014, she became a certified municipal clerk. Then, she went on a few years later to earn the designation of Master Municipal Clerk. To receive that title, she undertook on-the-job training and about 120 hours of education. During that training, the students were required to read the book “Hidden Figures,” which details the story of Katherine Johnson, who once taught in Marion but went on to serve as a mathematician for NASA. Stanley was proud to note Johnson’s ties to the community she now serves.
The Virginia Municipal Clerks Association defines itself as “an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of municipal clerks.” The commonwealth is home to 324 towns, cities and counties – each of which is served by a clerk.
Stanley has served as the association’s director for this region since 2017.
She said the association provides beneficial networking opportunities, offers clerks the tools and training to better serve, and helps clerks stay up to date on new laws affecting their work.
Stanley said she’s honored to receive the Clerk of the Year award and is pleased by the recognition it brought to Marion and the community. As is her nature, she was quick to turn the attention to others, saying, “I am especially appreciative of the daily support I’ve received from the council, the town manager and the staff that allowed me to be able to earn this award.”
When she’s not at work, Stanley enjoys paddleboarding, other outdoor activities, and anytime with her daughters, Hanna and Abigail. Hanna is a 2015 graduate of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and is now a PA student at Emory & Henry College’s School of Health Sciences. Abigail will graduate from Virginia Tech this month, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise with a minor in leadership.