BEST OF SERIES: Council farewells a favourite
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This story was originally published on April 5, 2020.
Former Gladstone City Mayor, the late Colin Brown, had some advice for his successor Peter Corones AM.
They were stern words according to Mr Corones, and the subject was his right hand at Council, Maureen Mason.
"Make sure you keep her right where she is," Mr Corones recounted.
He listened, and so has every mayor since.
Maureen's career began in October 1978 and she officially retired last month after more than 40 years.
She started as Secretary to the Deputy Town Clark at a time when shorthand was prized and typewriters occupied the space computers fill now.
"When I took over I can remember him saying 'you will never go wrong with Maureen as your right hander'," Mr Corones said.
He described her as great at her job, hard working and respectful, and said her departure was a sad loss to council.
It's a sentiment shared among many she worked with.
Former Mayor Gail Sellers described her as a valued employee who was adaptable to change.
"Maureen is pretty special," she said.
Mayor Matt Burnett has known her since he was a teenager playing junior tennis and said her knowledge of the people in Gladstone was second to none.
"She could write her own book on the local community," he said.
In recognition of decades of service, she was awarded the keys to the City of Gladstone just before she retired.
"I couldn't think of anyone more deserving in the organisation or in the community," Cr Burnett said.
She joins former Gladstone Art Gallery and Museum curator the late Pamela Whitlock and "Mr Gladstone", the late Cyril Golding as recipients.
Inscribed on the plaque are the words; "Presented to Maureen Mason in appreciation for your loyal and dedicated service to the community".
Maureen said she was overwhelmed by the award, but the words rings true.
"I've met some amazing people through the community," she said.
"Each mayor had their own style."
Retirement will bring a change of pace to working at Council.
She'll continue to be involved with the community, just at her own speed.