Ballinger City Secretary, Bonita Shields, retires after 46 years
BALLINGER - Bonita Shields, Ballinger City Secretary retired ob March 31. She started working for the City of Ballinger in 1976. To add some perspective, according to WorldPopulationReview.com, in all of Runnels County, of the 10,522 citizens, Shields was in office before 57.8% of them were born. The median age for an adult is 41 years old. Ms. Shields career with the city lasted over 4 decades, coming in at 46 years on the job.
Shields has outlasted councils, mayors, city managers, department heads, and a number of other employees who have come and gone, or retired. Most employees retire around the 20-year mark. In essence, Shields has worked twice as long as most employees who retire from the city.
What does someone do who is retiring after 46 years? Shields says she's got plans, "I'm going to spend more time with my family and maybe do some traveling. I'm not sure what all I'm going to do yet."
A retirement party was thrown for Shield at the Ballinger Community Center on March 30. Friends, family members, co-workers, county employees, and others attended the event. City Manager Brian Frieda was asked how you replace someone with as extensive experience as Shields, "You can't replace someone like Bonita. It's just not possible," Frieda said with quick chuckle.
While Frieda said that replacing Shields isn't possible, he did discuss bringing in a new city secretary, "Bonita was integral to everything that has gone on in Ballinger for almost five decades. You simply cannot replace her. What we do, is we bring someone into the fold at the city, we welcome them, we make them part of the team. They aren't expected to be Bonita. When you think of the scope of 46-years, it's impossible to quantify her contributions to the citizens of Ballinger."
Assistant City Manager John Pierik also spoke about Shields' work for the city, "She's witnessed everything that has gone on here in Ballinger for the last 46-years. She's put in a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours taking care of the citizens of Ballinger. We are going to dearly miss her. We wish her a long and happy retirement."
Shields said that she has seen a lot during her years working for the city, "I've been here through different mayors over the years. I've worked with all of the councils and enjoyed doing so."
Shields was honored with gifts from the state and nation, including flags that have flown over the US capitol, state capitol, as well as proclamations from Senators John Cornyn and Charles Perry, respectively. Shields also received tributes from State Congressional Representatives Drew Darby and August Pfluger, respectively. The gratitude on display for a public servant with almost 50 years spoke to her dedication. The honor and respect she earned from nearly a lifetime of public service to her community were manifested in the many gifts.
The Runnels County Registers wishes a long and happy retirement for Bonita Shields. May your days be filled with fun and family and may you travel to all the places you've always wanted to visit. #EarnedNotGiven