'Always enjoyed my job.' Raleigh City Clerk is retiring after more than 5 decades of service

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Friday, March 24, 2023
Raleigh Clerk Gail Smith retiring after more than 52 years of service
Gail Smith started as Deputy City Clerk in 1971 and was appointed as City Clerk and Treasurer in 1974.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The city of Raleigh is showing a lot of love for City Clerk Gail Smith who is retiring after more than 52 years of service.

Smith started as Deputy City Clerk in 1971 and was appointed as City Clerk and Treasurer in 1974.

The city clerk acts as a sort of coordinator between the city council and the public.

Smith has held that role through 26 city councils, 12 mayors, and more than sixteen hundred city council meetings and has become a beloved fixture on the staff.

For Smith's 50-year milestone, the city declared July 6, 2021, as Gail Smith Appreciation Day.

That proclamation jokingly reads the city dreads the day Ms. Smith decides to 'actually' retire, but, that day is April first.

"I just I've always enjoyed my job," Smith said. "I enjoy working with people. And, as I've told many people, I'm somewhat of a nosey person. And, so to be in the middle of what's going on and planning for your town, even though I don't have a part in the plans, but just knowing what's going on."

Smith is proud of the fact she never allowed an automated phone system in her office-making sure someone always answered the phone which led to a lot of interesting questions over the years.

"People call like- I want to start a business," Smith said.

"A gentleman called and wanted to know if he could bury his wife in the backyard before I even thought, I said, 'is she dead yet?' And you know, that kind of question, I'm like, oh, my gosh as soon as it came out of my mouth, i thought that was not a good answer.

But, we, you know, try to try to help our citizens through the maze of City Hall."

Smith says she hopes her legacy as Raleigh's city clerk is that she gave good customer service and she's looking forward to having no plans in retirement.

"Well, I'm going to miss the work, most of the work," Smith said. "But, I'm very excited to have a new life that doesn't have deadlines and doesn't have a schedule. People ask me if I have a plan after retirement, and I said yes, and that is to have no plans!"

Smith's last day as Raleigh City Clerk is March 31.