STERLING – After 39 years, Marie Rombouts is leaving City Hall.
Rombouts, 58, Sterling’s City Clerk for the last 16 years, submitted her resignation during Monday’s City Council meeting. Her last day will be June 10 or until a successor is appointed after that date.
She spent 17 years in the city’s code enforcement office at the beginning of her career, and became deputy city clerk in 1998, spending 6 years in that role before being appointed by Mayor Ted Aggen to replace Rosemary Coughlin in 2004.
“Sterling is my home, and I am so very proud of having been a part of its governing body and the progress and achievements made through the years,” Rombouts said.
A native of Thomas, a small community west of New Bedford in Bureau County, Rombouts said the job gave her opportunities to serve on various local committees and “successfully navigate the challenges of an evolving community,” along with the job’s usual role of maintaining the city’s records.
Although formally a resignation, Mayor Skip Lee reminded her that it’s rather a well-deserved retirement.
“It’s a great loss to lose you, it really is,” Lee said. “You have brought so much to your position.”
The clerk’s office does a variety of important functions for the city: It maintains local birth and death records, issues city business licenses, documents what goes on during public meetings, administers oaths of office, and is the city’s election authority.
The constant involvement didn’t stop within the walls of the Coliseum. Rombouts has been a member of Sterling Kiwanis, and local United Way and Salvation Army chapters, and received recognition for her position with participation in the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, as a district director for the Municipal Clerks of Illinois, and as president of the Northwestern Illinois Municipal Clerks Association.
City Manager Scott Shumard cited her community involvement as a big reason Rombouts was appointed to the position. Her loss will leave a void of institutional knowledge, and he’s seen where the void of a veteran city servant can be difficult to make up in some departments, Shumard said.
“We’ve always appreciated her connection to bridge those groups back to the city. She’s continued that from the time she was appointed to today.”
The biggest thing Rombouts will miss about the job is working with the citizens.
“It has been a very satisfying journey.”
The city clerk is appointed by the mayor. The job description will be reviewed, with Rombouts’ input, and posted at a later date, Shumard said.