Serving you: A history of serving the public

A year ago Cheyenne Oaks joined the city of Marietta as development specialist, appointed to the post by Mayor Joe Matthews. This month Oaks was tapped to fill the position of mayor’s secretary, formerly held by Lynn Vermaaten.

Question: You have a history of serving the public?

Answer: Yes. I started at Washington-Morgan Community Action, administering grants for planning and development for about a year and a half. Later I moved to the housing and transportation department with Community Action. There I worked with the weatherization program and Community Action Bus Lines.

As planning assistant for Community Action I wrote grants which I also did as Marietta’s development specialist, in addition to administering the city’s annual Community Development Block Grants.

Q: Did you have to apply for this current position?

A: There wasn’t an official application, but I did let the mayor know I was interested. I was eventually appointed, and began my first full week on the job Jan. 14.

Q: What are some of your new duties?

A: I handle a lot of correspondence for the mayor and am responsible for getting documents to the proper departments, including contracts or leases to the parties they belong to. I also coordinate meetings, and answer many questions from the public. And I help direct people where they need to go to conduct business with the city.

Q: Has your time in the development office and Community Action helped prepare you for this post?

A: That experience and background has definitely helped. We get a lot of calls about housing programs and landlord issues. While I don’t give out advice, I’m often able to help people know which agencies to contact as I’ve worked with those issues at Community Action. And knowing about all the city departments, from working in the development office, is another advantage.

Q: How have the first couple of weeks been on the job?

A: It’s been really great. I like the job because it keeps me busy and I like to stay busy. It’s pretty much what I expected so far, although a couple of weeks is not really a lot of time to tell. Mary (Grubert, the mayor’s clerk) helps me keep things straight.

I look forward to working closely with the mayor. I worked a lot with him in the development office. I think he’s a good guy to work for.

Q: What’s your favorite way of spending time outside of the office?

A: Winter’s pretty depressing for me. I love to be outside. We do a lot of camping and boating during the warmer months, so I’m not a real fan of cold weather. I sort of “hibernate” until spring. But I also love music of all kinds.

Sam Shawver conducted this interview.