After 12 years of loyal service to her County, Joan Kirk is retiring from her position as Fremont County Auditor.  
Kirk’s last day will be Dec. 31, and her successor, Dee Owen, will be sworn in on Jan. 3, 2017.
During Kirk’s tenure she saw many changes to operations of the Auditor’s Office, as well as within the County.  With new duties and changes have come new paperwork and reporting requirements that make the job more time consuming and complicated.
“When I started,” Kirk said, “we had one State Auditor that would come in and review everything over a two week period.  Now we have four or five auditors coming in, and staying for three or four weeks annually to review our work.  And sometimes we are required to have a special audit depending on how much money is flowing through the County.”
The flood of 2011 and the $5,425,000 jail bond were two big events that took place on Kirk’s watch that required extra effort and painstaking attention to detail.
“During/after the 2011 flood, FEMA required everything to be handled a certain way,” Kirk explained, “and we had to cross every T and dot every I or we could lose funding.”
Kirk said elections can also prove to be time consuming in the county.  Precinct election officials have to be contacted and organized, as long before the voters show up and long after the polls close, those officials are hard at work.
“Precinct election officials are key to organizing elections,” Kirk said, “and I really want to thank all of our election officials for their service in making sure Fremont County elections are run smoothly and successfully.  
In the 12 years I’ve been Auditor, we have had 43 elections, and at one point had five elections in four months!”
“I especially want to mention our longest serving and oldest serving precinct election officials, Sandra Gregory and Arlene Gaylord” Kirk went on, “Sandra Gregory doesn’t remember when she started, but remembers working when Ronald Reagan was elected President!”
  One of the changes Kirk made during her term was reducing the number of election precincts in the County from 13 to 5.  She said she caught a lot of flak for the change, but it has been a huge savings for the County.
During her term, Kirk has seen five County Attorneys fill that seat, she’s acted as clerk for around 600 board meetings, and she’s worked with many different Board of Supervisor members.
Kirk said the employees that had worked with her over the years had been outstanding, helping her over many hurdles, and that she “could not have done it without them.”
When asked why she was retiring, Kirk said she had been drawing Social Security for the last year and a half and thought it was time to let someone younger take over.  
Kirk said she wouldn’t miss the conflicts that invariably occur, but she would miss the people, as dealing with the public was her favorite part of the job.  
“Every taxpayer was my boss,” Kirk said, “and I and my employees have always tried to be friendly and helpful to our customers.”
Asked what she would do next, Kirk admitted she wasn’t sure.
“I’ve never, ever had time.  I just went straight from one job to the next,” Kirk explained.  
“I’ll stay home, and find things to do there, but I won’t rule out finding some part-time something to do that I enjoy.”
Kirk also mentioned that she had made many Auditor friends locally and all over the State of Iowa that she would never forget, and she hoped to be able to keep in contact with after the transition.
Some of the issues coming up in the future that Kirk felt might test the new Auditor were the proposed consolidation of two drainage districts into one pumping district, and administration of the Disaster Resilience HUD grant.
Kirk had absolute faith in Owen, though, saying that it would be a “smooth transition and Dee is very capable to take over all the duties of Auditor.”
Kirk has promised that she will continue to be accessible, though, if Owen has any questions for her.
“I just really want to say a big Thank You to Fremont County for having continued confidence in me,” Kirk said, “and for letting me serve you as County Auditor for the last 12 years.”