Kruse plans retirement after 39 years

Gale Rose

On April 22, Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse took notes at her final Pratt County Commission meeting after working in that office since August 1981.

Kruse started out handling payroll and accounts receivable under then County Clerk Alma Walker. In the 1990s, Walker appointed Kruse to Deputy Clerk but she still processed payroll and accounts receivable.

“There wasn’t a lot more to do then,” Kruse said.

Kruse stayed on and learned more and more about the clerk’s responsibilities until her boss retired and Kruse took another step up in her career.

“I was appointed county clerk in May 2003 when Alma Walker retired,” Kruse said.

Back in 1981, when she started working in the office, everything was done by hand. Checks were typed individually and it took a lot of time to do the day-to-day business. But changes were coming. In 1985, the office switched over to computers. Now these were not the computers people are used to today. They were much, much bigger back then.

“Our computer was huge to start with. We had a printer that size of a big desk,” Kruse said. “It was pretty challenging. There was a big learning curve. It was better once you learned everything.”

As county clerk, Kruse’s major duties include attending county commission meetings and taking minutes, gathering tax information from the taxing entities and set levy’s for each entity. This part of her job requires Kruse to be completely accurate and it is one of the most important parts of her duties and she cares a great deal about getting it right.

“It’s one of those middle of the night things. You check them 100 times then again to make sure there’s nothing wrong,” Kruse said. “Doing the levy’s is critical. It’s a job to make sure you get them all right. When you turn the tax roll over to the treasurer, you have to make sure that its all correct. It could cause a lot of problems if you had the wrong mil levy.”

The county clerk is also responsible to run elections. While this only happens for primaries and general election days, it is one of the most important parts of her job.

This is a presidential election year. There will be a primary on the first Tuesday in August and a general election the first Tuesday in November.

With the COVID-19 crisis, Kruse said she was not aware of any changes in voting practices from the Secretary of State’s office.

Kruse said she likes doing all the things that need to be done for the county and citizens of the county and making sure everything is correct.

After 39 years in the office, she is going to miss the people she works with and the people in the county.

“I want to thank all the citizens for all their support over all the years. I want to thank all the election workers,” Kruse said.

Kruse’s last day will be April 24. Deputy County Clerk Lori Voss has already been appointed County Clerk and will officially take office on May 1.

Kruse said she has no specific plans after she retires. Husband Darrell is not retired yet and won’t for several years. For now, Kruse said she will get to see her daughter and her family and especially her grandson. She plans to sew and there is a shed to clean out. Travel might be in the future once the COVID-19 travel ban is lifted.

Kruse graduated from Pratt High School in 1972. She attended Pratt Junior College (now Pratt Community College) in a business program and worked at the county treasurers office as part of a work study program. After graduating from PCC, she attended Fort Hays State University and received her bachelor’s degree in business education.

Her intention was to teach business classes and she did so for one year at the Beloit Technical School. Then she met Darrell Kruse and they got married. Darrell built water towers across the mid-west but Kruse didn’t like moving so much and she couldn’t teach. The couple decided to return to Pratt where Kruse found a job working in the County Clerk’s office in1981.