Receptionist Bev O’Brien retires after 19 years of service to Delaware County
By DUSTIN ENSINGER
Delaware County has lost its voice.
For nearly two decades, those trying to reach someone in county government by phone have probably heard the calming and sweet voice of receptionist Bev O’Brien before being directed to the proper office or department.
“She just has the perfect phone voice,” Delaware County Communications and Employee Relations Manager Teri Morgan said.
But the county is now in the market for a new voice as O’Brien retired on Wednesday, November 28, after more than 19 years of service to the county. County officials recognized O’Brien’s work at Monday’s (November 26) commissioners session.
The 68-year-old is retiring due to upcoming changes in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System.
“I felt that it was in my best interest to retire now,” she said.
O’Brien got her start with the county when a friend informed her of the opening. Given her past experience running switchboards and working phones, she thought it would be a good fit.
“Most of my jobs have been phone oriented,” she said. “Most people tell me I have a good phone voice.”
During her tenure, she has watched the county and its government grow and evolve. When she was hired, she was given two hours of training and worked under a board of commissioners made up of three farmers that spent very little time at the office.
Three administrators and 12 commissioners later, county government is more modern and professionalized.
“Everything is so much more political than it used to be,” she said.
With politics, oftentimes comes anger, and O’Brien has been on the receiving end of many angry tirades. She always managed to maintain her cool, though.
“People appreciate the fact that I maintain a professional manner,” she said.
She has also fielded many bizarre calls, including people offering up their social security numbers to her. Once, she had a woman that would often call and just burst out laughing because she thought O’Brien sounded so much like Marilyn Monroe.
“She actually made her husband call me,” O’Brien said.
Since she will not be fielding dozens of calls each day, O’Brien plans to “just kind of enjoy life and take one day at a time.”
Her plans include some home redecorating, volunteer work, attending car shows and spending time with her grandchildren and friends.
Walking out the door for the last time will be difficult for O’Brien, who referred to colleagues in the commissioners’ office as family.
“I’m sure there will be many, many tears,” she said.
Whoever is ultimately chosen to replace O’Brien will have some very large shoes to fill, according to Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley.
“It’s hard to duplicate the set of talents she brought to the county,” he said. “She has the ability to make everyone feel very welcome.”