TRAVERSE CITY — For the last 30 years, Chris Cramer’s address has been a street in northern Michigan.
In her professional life, she’s Switzerland. Not in Switzerland; rather, she is Switzerland, said County Administrator Nate Alger in describing the administrative assistant’s work with the Grand Traverse County Board.
“For nearly 30 years, nine administrators and almost 30 commissioners taking great care to keep us all informed, and through it all, you’ve been our Switzerland,” Alger said, at a board meeting earlier this month.
The European country has been seen as neutral in many historical conflicts, and Alger said he considered the comparison high praise for an employee who answered to those with varying politics.
“We all have our opinions about things but we generally try to do the right thing,” said County Finance Director Dean Bott. “That’s really true of Chris.”
Cramer’s job included obvious tasks, such as preparing the meeting packets for commissioners and not-so-obvious tasks such as fielding media calls, arranging for subcommittee meeting rooms, looking up past board decisions and making new commissioners feel welcome.
“I really salute you for your dedication,” said Board Chair Rob Hentschel. “We can be a rowdy bunch.”
Praise was being lavished on Cramer for two reasons. One, the speakers said it was deserved; and two, she’s retiring.
“I’m just one of 500 employees here,” Cramer said. “We all work together and we try to do the best we can. I’m humbled by the number of citizens who’ve reached out to me. I live in Grand Traverse County, too, and I just tried to get up in the morning and do what’s right.”
Cramer said she plans to do some traveling in her retirement, to spend some time in Florida, but keep her main residence in the area.
Her responsibilities have been assumed by Lisa Emery, formerly of vital records, who said she is excited about the new role and was thankful to have a few weeks working with Cramer before she retired Jan. 10.