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County employee retires after 60 years

BY LILY ABROMEIT | OCTOBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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When Betty Sass began her work in the Johnson County Treasurer’s Office, she used her meticulous handwriting to fill out ledgers and tax forms and balance books — not stopping until she fixed every problem down to the last penny.

Now, following years of developing technology, she said this change is a chance to find time for herself.

“Each time a new treasurer came on, they kept me, and I just kept right on working until it was time to retire,” said Sass, who after being hired at the age of 20, has ended her 60-year tenure.

Johnson County Treasurer Tom Kriz, who has served as Sass’ boss for the last 15 years, said she showed an “incredible” dedication to her work, not only in terms of the office but the citizens of Johnson County as well.

“She was an encyclopedia of knowledge of Johnson County,” Kriz said.

This knowledge, gathered over six decades, is something Sass attempted to pass down before she retired. However, this is a feat Kriz said he does not think is entirely possible.

“Put us all together in that office, and we still would not have all the knowledge Betty had,” Kriz said.

Sass’ daughter, Debora Sass-Hansen, said her valuable knowledge included information not only on the job of treasurer but the office in general, including how to treat the thousands of area residents and employees that she interacted with on a nearly daily basis. 

Quality treatment of everyone in the workplace is the most important piece of information Sass said she hopes she is able to pass down to her successor.

“Just be understanding of the employees, because they know pretty much …what goes on down there,” Sass said. “We do a lot of work down there that people don’t see.”

Sass-Hansen said it was simply a habit for her mother to be so committed and dedicated to her job, something she exemplified through every aspect of her life.

“[My] Mom was one of those people who didn’t like to miss a lot of work because of the hardships it would cause other people,” she said.

For Johnson County Supervisor Pat Harney, Sass brought several unique qualities to the office, chief among them “accuracy, tenacity, and friendship.”

Now, Sass said, she is most looking forward to not having a reason to wake up at 4:30 a.m.

“For a while, I’m not really planning on doing a whole lot,” Sass said. “For the first couple of weeks, I’ll just be a bum I guess.”

Although she has officially finished her last day, Kriz said he and the rest of the office are hoping to bring her back in the future as temporary help during tax season.

“This doesn’t close the door for her to come back for special projects, and that made [her retirement] OK for everyone,” Kriz said. “Betty was one of those people who was always your best friend.”


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