Naples secretary lands new job

BARBARA BECKWITH stands in front of the Naples Town Office, where she has worked as Naples Secretary for six years. On Friday, she will resign to take a job as the assistant to the town manager in Gray. (De Busk Photo)

BARBARA BECKWITH stands in front of the Naples Town Office, where she has worked as Naples Secretary for six years. On Friday, she will resign to take a job as the assistant to the town manager in Gray. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Ever since she was a young child, Barbara McDonough could envision working for a municipality as a job she could aspire to.

“When I was a little girl and I went to the town office with my mom, I viewed the people at the town office as people who were respected. I would think, ‘Wow, this is where people pay their taxes. This is our local government,’” said Naples Secretary Barbara McDonough Beckwith.

She stayed true to her childhood dream. Beckwith went to California and garnered a glistening resume working for the Commissioner of the Port of Oakland. Upon returning to the East Coast, she landed the secretary job with the Naples Town Office (NTO). To her delight, she was working in the same building where she had attended elementary school.

At NTO, Beckwith made friends with her co-workers who “seem like family.” Beckwith has been a municipal employee who greets the young children accompanying their parents on that errand to the town office.

“I genuinely care about the people. I am passionate about people. I want to find solutions for them when they come into our office. I don’t see black and white; I always see a gray area, a solution,” she said.

Now, Beckwith has her own little girl to raise. She has taken steps toward providing the best future for her child. With the ball rolling in that direction, some big life changes have spun her way.

Last week, she and her husband closed on a house in Naples.

“It’s great to be able to provide a home for our daughter, and have our daughter’s first birthday party in that home. And, it’s great to still be part of this community,” she said.

Next week, after five years with her current employer, Beckwith starts a new job in a different town.

Beckwith’s final full-time day with the NTO will be on Friday. She begins her employment with the Town of Gray on March 11 as the assistant to the town manager.

“The transition of my marriage and my family — that is ultimately the reason I even considered looking for another job,” she said.

She cited being free from working during the evenings, and better pay, as the top reasons for pursing the position in Gray.

“I wanted to get away from working nights. When summertime comes, there are meetings at night two times a week, or more often,” Beckwith said. “I want to be home with my family at night.”

Beckwith has always appreciated the community that exists in each town where she has resided.

“I came back to Naples with the qualifications that allowed me to get a job here. My experience with the Town of Naples allowed me to move on to a larger town,” Beckwith said.

She was pleased to have “out-interviewed 70 people,” some of whom had earned a master’s degree in business or government. A unanimous vote by the interviewing board was a sign that Beckwith had shined during that process, and a fact that makes her proud.

“I perfectly matched the job qualifications” for the position, she said.

Beckwith fit the bill from her years of experience with county and municipal government to her knowledge of municipal ordinance and laws.

“I have an understanding of how a municipal office runs. I have worn many hats. They liked that I am a well-rounded worker. They liked my energy and my personality,” she said.

As she recalled the highlights of her tenure in Naples, her involvement with a mooring fee system and the Causeway Renovation Committee come to mind.

“With the help of Boni Rickett, I implemented a mooring number system on every lake,” she said. “It started out as something that brought in $800 or $900 a year. Over the years, the program has grown. Now, it generates almost $9,000, and is a self-sustaining program.”

The dues cover the costs of the Harbor Patrol, the uniforms and training for harbor patrol workers, and the maintenance of the boats used.

When the Bay of Naples Bridge project received state transportation department funding in 2010, a new position was created for Beckwith. Serving as secretary on the Causeway Restoration Committee (CRC) turned out to be exciting, meaningful and moving, she said.

“That is a proud accomplishment. It was a neat dynamic. Watching the way a group of people from different walks of life came together on each consensus. They are the finest people I’ve worked with. They treated me like a board member,” Beckwith said as she recalled voting on the streetlights and sitting on the landscaping subcommittee.

The CRC “is something that I want to stay involved with, since I am a homeowner in Naples, and because I want to see it through to the completion of the (construction) project,” she said.

A few years ago, Beckwith lead the battle cry to create a perennial garden. With the volunteer help of community members, they removed pine trees that shed needles on the parked vehicles and planted flowers along the walkways.

The perennials aren’t the only thing that will need tending after Beckwith leaves.

“The relationships I have at the (Naples) town office are ones I plan on keeping,” she said. “Once I get settled in my new home and at my new job, I hope to resume serving on some town committees or boards, in some capacity. Naples is near and dear to my heart, and always will be.”

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