The City of Mansfield’s city secretary office has become a lot less purple and doesn’t have as many penguins as it once did since City Secretary Vicki Collins retired last week.
Collins, who was known for her love for the color purple and whose office had a pack of penguin paraphernalia, retired after 29 years as a city employee after holding several titles. The City of Mansfield said goodbye to its city secretary with a farewell reception Sept. 29.
“I liked all of the roles I had because I always gave 110 percent,” Collins said. “Whatever I did, that was my passion.”
Collins’ time with the city stretches over several departments as she watched the city grow.
Collins served as the city secretary since 2002, but experience as a city employee starts in 1979 when she worked as a utility billing clerk, back when the city handled billing for all utilities. She also worked for the city secretary’s office, then the police department, where she met her husband, and later the public works department.
After getting married in 1984, Collins moved back to the city secretary’s office, then to public works, and then left to focus on raising her family in 1986. She would come back to work for the police department in 1992 and later the finance department. She left the city again in 1997 to run a doughnut shop with her husband, but she was ready to come back after two months, she said.
Collins said a desire to learn fueled her journey to different parts of the city’s operations.
“I always want to do more and I always wanted to push myself to do more,” she said.
She returned to the city as the records clerk in the city secretary’s office in 1998 and moved her way up city secretary.
Assistant City Secretary Susana Marin, who worked with Collins for more than nine years, said the city will miss Collins’ experience the most.
“Vicki knows Mansfield,” she said. “Someone could walk through the door and Vicki knows his whole story.”
Assistant City Manager Chris Burkett also spoke of Collins’ strength in helping others, but added that even when things are difficult she is always in a good mood.
Records management clerk Shelia Rhodes said she learned about the importance of assisting others from Collins.
“She does so much for them just to make their lives easier,” Rhodes said.
Collins plans to do the things she enjoys with her time, including sewing and crochet.
“I have a passion for handmade crafts,” she said. “Crochet has always been my therapy.”
She also plans to spend time with her family, including the grandchildren.
She said there are some things she will miss about working for the city, but late night city council meetings are not one of them.
“The people, the council, the citizens,” she said. “I was there for them and enjoyed helping them.”
Collins said her biggest piece of work advice is to have great customer service skills and to be a team player.
“There may be things you don’t want to do or it’s not your job, but you got to pitch in and just be there,” she said. “Be a team player.”
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770