By John Filonow
PERRY, Okla. —
Mary Rupp worked for the city of Stillwater for 35 years. She started Nov. 1 as the city manager of Perry.
She was first a secretary for the city manager and then an assistant city manager in Stillwater. When she left the city in February 2011, her title was deputy city manager. Rupp said the position was similiar to being an assistant, but with more direct supervision.
Rupp said the city reorganized and eliminated her position. She said in recognition of her service with the city, she was given a separation agreement where she is paid through Dec. 31. She also will remain on Stillwater’s health insurance plan until Jan. 1, 2014. Part of her employment agreement with the city of Perry is that the money the city would be paying for her health insurance will be added to her base pay.
She said her base pay is $80,000 a year and the value Perry officials put on paying her insurance is $10,000 a year. After Jan 1, 2014, Rupp will enroll in the city of Perry’s health insurance plan and not receive the extra stipend.
Sherry Fletcher, director of marketing and public relations for the city of Stillwater, said representatives of Stillwater could not comment on a former employee’s health insurance plan.
Stillwater City Clerk Cindy Pollard said Rupp’s employment was from July 6, 1976 to December 31, 2011.
Rupp said she lived all her adult life in Perry after moving from northeast Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in education with a business speciality. Her first job was teaching in Kansas schools. She moved to Perry with her husband who is from Perry. She has two adult sons and five grandchildren.
She worked at Oklahoma State University for a year before starting with the city of Stillwater.
She became assistant city manager in 1987 and was made deputy city manager shortly after Dan Galloway was hired as Stillwater’s city manager in 2005.
Rupp said when she left the City of Stillwater she was not ready to retire.
“I would have preferred to keep working for the city of Stillwater because I really enjoyed the city of Stillwater and the people I worked with and it didn’t go that way,” Rupp said. “I’ve always felt like things happen for a reason, and sometimes you don’t question why things happen. Sometimes they just happen and you roll with the punches and know that things will work out.”
Stillwater gave her the opportunity to learn and grow, she said.
“I look back fondly on all the people I worked with and got to know,” she said.
Rupp, 60, said standard retirement age of 66 is getting closer.
“I don’t really have an end date in mind, obviously that 65 age kind of looms out there ... At this point, I’m basically in my second week at Perry, so it’s hard to look ahead too far, but hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with the City Council here.”
Rupp said Perry city manager was a natural fit for her. She said Perry changed to a council/manager form of government about seven years ago.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity ... My experience with council form of government is one of the things I’ll bring to the table,” Rupp said.