Celebrating Administrative Professionals
April 24th is Administrative Professionals Day. During the month of April, Jackson County is celebrating our administrative professionals who are a vital part of our organization. We will be posting a series of stories to recognize those dedicated professionals who make up Jackson County.
Human Resources Department
HR Administrative Professionals - Tracy Jordan and Maria Leathers.
MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019
Helping people is the most enjoyable part of the job for the two administrative professionals in the Human Resources Department.
Office Administrator Maria Leathers said, “As a young girl my mom taught me the importance of hard work and helping others so I pretty much carry that throughout my whole career as far as I love assisting people and helping people and making sure things are getting done so I do enjoy what I do.”
According to HR Specialist Tracy Jordan, she is a people person. “I guess that is what I love the most, dealing with people, trying to help them. Most people that come to Jackson County, I don’t think they know where to go, who to talk to. So just helping the people is what I really love.”
The two answer a lot of questions. Leathers said, “We get phone calls about anything as far as sick leave, to benefits, to FMLA, to overtime or whatever it is just constant calls about things. What forms, where are the forms? Especially for new employees we are constantly letting them know where to get things and this is what you need to do and of course we are always hiring new employees.”
On top of all of the questions she gets from county associates Jordan said she also answers a lot of questions from the public who come into the courthouse and do not know where to go. “People that come into Jackson County they don’t know where the courtrooms are, they don’t know where anything is sometimes.”
The two work as a team and cover for each other when one of them is off. “We want to make sure that when we are out, our desks don’t pile up with things that need to be done so, she and I work really well together,” Leathers said. “Tracy and I are Batman and Robin.”
“We try to provide the best professional public service to the employees and to the public. A lot of the time we rely on each other as far as different policies. We really have to know that personnel rule book to make sure that we are doing the proper things that we need to do so we work as a team on that,” she said.
Leathers is a Kansas City native and has been with Jackson County for four years. She has an undergrad degree from Avila University and has worked in the office management field her entire career. Her typical duties include managing the HR office, assisting the director and deputy director in the day to day processes and work flow.
If there was one thing she could change about her job Leathers said it would be to automate the circulation of paper work that needs to be hand delivered between departments.
“I would really like to see an automated system in place so that it would allow us to work more efficiently with probably less errors, we could better track things,” she said. “The director is working to get that in place but it takes time.”
Jordan has been with Jackson County for four years following eight years working for the city of Kansas City. She grew up in Kansas City and attended Penn Valley and Longview College.
Parks + Rec Department
Parks + Rec Administrative Professionals - Kay Norris, Stephenie Thompson, Jordin Mahnke and Susan Kinnaman.
MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2019
To keep a department as large as Parks + Rec moving smoothly it takes four very experienced administrative professionals.
Susan Kinnaman, office and volunteer coordinator, said that things are always busy around the parks. “One misconception about the parks department is that they think we have down time in the winter. There is no down time out here.”
Kay Norris an administrative assistant who handles maintenance expenditures agrees. “We never stop spending money. There are always repairs. We never stop fixing water leaks and things that are broken.”
The duties for all of the women have expanded over time.
Norris has been with county for 17 years. “There is something different every day,” she said.
Stephenie Thompson started as an administrative assistant more than two years ago and moved to program analyst with the historic sites division to replace someone who left.
Thompson said she coordinates field trips, helps with events and does whatever needs taking care of.
Jordin Mahnke started as a dispatcher for the Park Rangers nearly five years ago and has also recently been given the duties of information systems coordinator.
She said, “Along with dispatching, answering phones and providing information for visitors, the Rangers now have iPads in the field and I worked with IT to create website where all of our forms and reports live. So there are updates that I do. I take care of teaching them how to us the software on the iPads and just general stuff around the office.”
“Everything changes every day,” she said. “It’s kind of different. You find yourself doing something different but it is very interesting. If you don’t know about it you can learn about it and I find that is the best part. Just learning something new every day.”
Kinnaman, who has been with the department for 15 years, said the biggest part of her job lately is moving the system for tracking volunteers to an online system. Each volunteer can now log their own hours.
They all agree that there is no other department that they would rather work for. “I feel very blessed to be here and be around the people that we are around,” Mahnke said.
According to Kinnaman, “It’s like a family. I have said it so many times, it’s a family.”
Norris agreed the best part of the job is the people she works with but also added, “You see the lake through every window that you look out.”
“I love my job, it’s a great place to work. It’s the only job that I have had that I look forward to coming to work,” Thompson said.