After 17 years serving as Kempner’s city secretary and literally watching the city sprout from a small group of concerned neighbors to the town of almost 2,000, Frances Spinney is retiring.
“Anyone that has been with the organization since the very beginning ... is definitely going to be missed,” Mayor Gene Isenhour said. “She has been a partner with me in guiding the city along. It is a relatively new city, and she just moved right along with it.”
Kempner incorporated in 1997 to prevent the urban sprawl of Copperas Cove, and Spinney was there for that. She also was present when the city operated from a storage shed outside Kempner Water Supply Corporation offices, in an old post office, and now in its own offices and council chambers.
“It has gone from nothing to what it is now,” Spinney said. “We didn’t even have a city hall.”
But watching the city grow wasn’t Spinney’s favorite part of the job. She enjoyed working with area residents the most.
“It is meeting the people, the face-to-face time with the people, that I will miss,” Spinney said.
Spinney just didn’t deal with the Kempner City Council and city employees. She dealt with anyone who has done anything with the city, Isenhour said. She is a big part of this community.
“Anyone that comes in for any services — burn permits, building permits, the municipal court, and anyone that has any questions about the city — has probably spoken with Frances,” Isenhour said.
Besides being the city’s top administrative job, where she ran the day-to-day operations of Kempner, she also served as the municipal judge since 2005.
“She is irreplaceable basically,” said Trudy Davis, the assistant city secretary and municipal court clerk. “She knows so much. She is a fountain of information.”
Davis, who has worked for the city for eight years, will take on Spinney’s role.
Spinney’s retirement Tuesday is her second time to leave the workforce. At age 80, she plans to travel, volunteer and work around her home.
“I didn’t do well with the first retirement,” she said. “I hope I do better with this time.”