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Kirkland to retire from city after 43 years of service

MADISON – When Elise Kirkland started to work for the City of Madison, Richard Nixon was U.S. President, “All in the Family” was the top TV show, and minimum wage was $1.60.

Kirkland will retire on Sept. 30 with 43 years of service to the city … setting the record for city employees.

“Elise has been connected with the City of Madison most of her life. She graduated from Bob Jones High School,” co-worker Levoneia Ayers said.

While in high school, Kirkland first worked for Madison Recreation Department as a temporary “playground worker” in 1973 – 1975. After graduation, she worked as clerk typist at City Hall.

In 1978, Kirkland returned and was hired as clerk stenographer for the City Clerk’s office. In 1980, she became the department’s Secretary/Director’s Aide. In 1984, Elise accepted the job as Administrative Assistant to Director of Parks and Recreation Department.

In 1997, Elise was promoted to Office Manager, a title that changed to ‘Recreation Administrative Supervisor.’

“Elise was my hiring supervisor when I began working for the city 20 years ago. I worked under her supervision for four years,” Ayers said. “Elise is family oriented, a natural nurturer and compassionate — great qualities when the majority of your staff are parents of small children and/or caregivers for their aging parents.”

Ayers described Kirkland as fun loving, holding a great sense of humor and always ready to share a flavorful meal with co-workers. “Elise is detailed oriented, knowledgeable of policy/procedures and makes sure those around her are educated. Elise has been a staple in the department and will be missed tremendously.”

During 43 years on the job, Kirkland believes “the two major changes that I’ve seen in Madison are the growth of the city, along with traffic and construction.”

Looking to retirement, Kirkland’s plans “are to spend more time with my grandchildren and family and learn to quilt to finish some of my other’s quilts,” Kirkland said. “My mother wasn’t able to finish before going blind.” In addition, cross-stitching is another hobby.

“My husband and I have some projects around the house that we are looking forward to finally having some time to do,” Kirkland said.

Elise and her husband Marc Kirkland have been married for 37 years. The Kirkland family includes sons James and Brian; daughter-in-law Kayla; grandson Chase; and granddaughter Caroline.

Kory Alfred, Director of Parks & Recreation, invites the community to Elise’s retirement reception — Sept. 30, 1 to 3 p.m. — on her last day at Dublin Park.

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