Phyllis McClure could be described as the town’s chief cook and bottle washer, or an air traffic controller who kept town government ticking and on course for 22 years.
McClure’s tenure spans four mayors, five town managers and 16 aldermen. McClure, now 54, first started working for the town at 21 in the tag office.
“When I first started here, some of the employees called me ‘the kid,’” McClure said.
Now, she is lovingly called Mayor Phyllis — a title bestowed on her by Mayor Gavin Brown.
“Invaluable, I guess is an appropriate word to use,” Brown said, describing McClure. “We were fortunate to have her for as long as we did.”
But Brown said that, for him, the most important quality for a town clerk is personality. All of the Waynesville history and the technical aspects of the jobs can be learned, he said, but you can’t learn how to work well with people, which McClure excelled at.
“Phyllis was somebody you trusted implicitly. She was very understanding and accommodating,” Brown said.
As town clerk, McClure was the face of Waynesville — people’s first contact with the town.
“The thing I like most is working with the public,” McClure said, adding that that will also be what she misses once she retires.
But McClure is excited to spend more time with her grandchildren — her tenth is on the way — and with her own mother.
“I think you reach a time and you know, well, it’s time to go on and do something else,” McClure said.
A retirement reception for McClure will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the new town hall.