Photo by Ann McCreary
Janie Surface will retire at the end of this month after 23 years at Twisp Town Hall.

Deputy clerk has been key contact between town and residents

By Ann McCreary

Janie Surface has worked for the Town of Twisp for 23 years, a tenure that has seen nine different mayors and 30-plus Town Council members come and go.

As deputy clerk in Twisp Town Hall for the past 19 years, Surface has been a key point of contact between Town Hall and town residents. When people come to Town Hall to pay their sewer or water bills, buy dog tags or apply for a building permit, Surface has been the pleasant, capable person who helped them.

That regular community contact is one of the things Surface will miss when she retires on Dec. 28. “I really like talking to people,” she said. The community is invited to a celebration in her honor at Town Hall on Dec. 27 from 1 – 3 p.m.

Surface was hired in 1994 as police clerk, and moved into the deputy clerk position a few years later. Born and raised in the Methow Valley, Surface said she has seen the Twisp evolve from its mill town roots “to a service center and arts center.”

She has also seen town government evolve over the years. Among her duties as deputy clerk is taking minutes at Twisp Town Council meetings, which has given her perspective on different town administrations over almost two decades.

“Some new mayors got into office and said, ‘Holy cow! This is a lot of responsibility,’” Surface said. The current mayor, Soo Ing-Moody, “is very professional,” she said. The mayor and department heads, particularly Public Works Director Andrew Denham, “are trying to make a lot of improvements … it’s been good for the town,” Surface said.

Surface also attends and takes minutes for the Twisp Planning Commission, Airport Advisory Board and Parks and Recreation Commission. She assists the town planner and the building inspector, as well as department heads and council members.

“I like the diversity of my job. I may have a plan for the day, but I never know how it’s going to change — who is going to walk in, what kind of research I may need to do for a project for the mayor or clerk,” Surface said.

“I like my coworkers. I’m sad to leave all these nice people,” she added. “They are strong advocates for the town.”

Surface has been a steady and reliable presence in Town Hall, said Twisp Clerk/Treasurer Jackie Moriarty. “Through all the mayors and all the changes, Janie has always been the constant and the glue for the town. Clerks have come and gone, councils have come and gone. She’s been the one you come to for answers She’s so dependable,” Moriarty said.

In retirement, Surface is looking forward to traveling with friends and family, spending more time with her eight grandchildren, riding horses and perhaps volunteering in the schools or taking a class.

Twisp has hired a new deputy clerk, Andrea Thompson, who moved to the Methow Valley in November. She lives in Carlton with her husband, three dogs, two cats and three chickens. Thompson previously worked as deputy clerk for the Town of Leavenworth and as controller for Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth.