COLUMBIA — The longest-serving official in Boone County government announced her retirement Monday after 43 years of service.
Boone County Treasurer Kay R. Murray was first elected in 1976 and began her term in 1977 but started working for the county in 1967 when she took a job with the county clerk's office.
Murray said that she feels good about the decision.
"It feels wonderful, especially after I get through the hooha," she said.
Murray said she's retiring to spend time with her children and grandchildren but that she's also ready to move on.
"Mainly I'm kind of burned out on county government," she said.
She's seen a lot of changes in her eight terms.
"I am proudest probably of the investment program I have developed," Murray said, referring to a system she started to keep the county's operating budgets in a combined account. By combining the funds the county reaps a higher rate of return on their operating funds. Department budgets were kept in separate checking accounts until the early '80s.
Her improvements to county government extend to the government building itself. Murray initiated an arrangement with the Columbia Art League that keeps local artwork on the walls of the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center.
Murray said the artwork currently on display has been among her favorite. "There are some paintings of some of these historic buildings around the area," she said. "So that's pretty cool." She said she particularly likes a painting of the Gordon Cabin at Stephens Lake.
She also had a clock made that incorporates the image of the large bur oak near McBaine.
Murray's retirement will be effective Feb. 28 and comes one year into her eighth four-year term. She said that state statutes require that an interim treasurer be appointed either by the county commission or by the governor.
"We need a smooth transition," Murray said. "We need a treasurer that can sign checks."
Whoever fills the position will serve until the end of the year. If they'd like to continue to serve, they will have to run for re-election in November.
Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said Monday that an interim treasurer will be appointed to serve.
"My assumption is that we'd appoint the deputy," Miller said.
Lisa Roland currently serves as the county's deputy treasurer.
Miller said Murray will be missed. "I like Kay because she's forthright," she said. "She knows where she stands. She's not afraid to challenge you when she disagrees or to stand up when she agrees with you. You can't ask for more than that."