‘I want to be a part of this community’

Published 9:13 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Albert Lea woman with over 20 years experience is new city clerk

An Albert Lea woman who has more than 20 years of experience working for the city she grew up in was sworn in as city clerk Monday during the Albert Lea City Council meeting.

Daphney Maras, 55, began her career with the city as a part-time employee in the finance department in December 1996. She would later assume full-time status in the finance department.

“Raising my three children (Andrew, Mariah and Cierra) — I wanted to be home more,” Maras said. “So, that’s why I came here, because I wanted to work just very part time. And then, throughout the years opportunities kept arising. And they just happened to arise at the right time, because our kids were getting older.”

“As the opportunities came along, I was fortunate enough to have the support of administration here to furthering education and taking on some of the duties of the clerk as a deputy clerk for the last three years,” she said. “From there, one thing just led to another.”

The youngest of eight siblings, Maras graduated from Albert Lea High School and attended what is now Riverland Community College.

“My parents were the hardest-working people,” she said. “And they instilled that in all of us. And I am really grateful for the work ethic that they taught us.”

Maras became city clerk after the retirement of former clerk Shirley Slater-Schulte, and Maras will oversee city records, licenses, elections and other topics, as well as take minutes for council meetings and work sessions.

She said she is “very grateful” to be city clerk, and did not expect to ever have an administrative position when her employment with the city began.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s a nice change. The finance department — I think we’ve got a nice finance department over there, and I will miss working with each of them. They are sitting fine over there, and it’s time move to things over here.”

Though Maras has had opportunities to leave the community, she decided to stay.

“I love this town,” she said. “I have grown to care so deeply about it, that I think it’s what drove me to a position such as this, because I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of this community and be involved as much as I can.”

Maras, who said she is the first Hispanic woman she is aware of to be employed in an administrative position for the city, said she is excited and proud to hold the distinction.

“I think that you can accomplish anything,” she said. “That sounds so cliché, but truly. I’ve never felt a hint of prejudice, and it was probably in my face at times. I know my family members have commented on they’ve felt that at times. And in all honesty, I know I’ve heard comments.

“My husband (Matt Maras) has heard comments in his workplace … I don’t take it that way. I think that people are just not educated enough, I guess, to understand that it doesn’t matter what color you are or where you come from or what language you speak. Anything is possible — it really is. You just have to have the work ethic and the drive and the compassion.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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