New LP town clerk to be sworn in next week
LAKE PLACID - One thing you learn right away about Lake Placid’s new town clerk is that she goes by her middle name –McQueen – and doesn’t like to reveal her first name. “Call me McQueen,” said L. McQueen Small, who has been on board for a little less than a month as town clerk and will be officially sworn in at Monday’s council meeting. Small’s hiring comes on the heels of a town hall staff restructuring that was put into place after longtime town clerk Arlene Tuck announced she was retiring at the end of March. Lake Placid also brought on board Phil Williams, its former police chief who is now the town administrator, a newly created position, and will be assisted by Small.Small, who is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Highlands County for five years, will be in charge of coordinating the different town meetings – from doing the minutes to preparing the agenda and making sure the public notices are advertised, among other duties. She, along with other staff members, are also being cross trained so they can fill in in case someone is absent, said Mayor John Holbrook. “She’ll be the clerk in some duties,” he said. “She’s probably going to be more of a professional secretary.” A CPA for 20 years, Small has also owned her own business and has had some government experience. This is the first time she is doing a town clerk’s job and said she is enjoying being up to speed on things and getting comfortable with her new duties. In her free time, Small is very active with Toby’s Clowns, where she is the treasurer. When she is in her clown garb, Small is “Raggles,” along with her mother, also a clown who goes by “Taggles.” Mother and daughter are supposed to be “mirror” images of each other, Small explained, except with different hair color. Small has the yellow hair, while mom, Geri McQueen’s hair is blue. Small also teaches QuickBook classes at South Florida State College as an adjunct instructor. Holbrook said the town had interviewed three or four applicants but picked Small even though the others had more job experience. “Because of her background, her attitude…” he added. Also, she was Williams’ first pick. As far as the restructuring goes, Holbrook said it’s been going good but it’s still a work in progress. “It’s been an adjustment for everybody,” he said. “Phil (Williams) has been able to step in and do much of the things,” after Tuck’s departure, Holbrook said. While Lake Placid split Tuck’s duties among Small and Williams, they didn’t increase the amount they are paying in salaries. The idea was to improve efficiency and get more people cross-trained so options would be there in case someone left. “It’s going to be better for the town,” Holbrook said, adding there is a possibility of more job openings coming up. Small, meanwhile, is being paid $39,000 plus benefits.