No Instruction Book Came With County Job



Andy Towle/Roundup -

Pam Fisher

Pam Fisher’s daughter was barely 13 months old when Fisher gave birth to twin boys.

“I had three all at once,” Fisher likes to say. Karl, Keith and Kim are now 37 and 38 respectively.

They’re all responsible adults now, who have given Fisher six grandchildren.

“It’s just like everybody says. If I had known grandkids were this much fun, I would have had them first,” Fisher joked.

The 61-year-old woman with short blond hair, whose motherly persona implies she’d be ready with a cup of chicken noodle soup should someone get the flu, replaced Supervisor Tommie Martin’s assistant and Payson county services liaison extraordinaire Jo Johnson in February. Fisher has worked full-time with the county, however, since 1993.

Fisher “thought they were kidding,” when she was offered the job. “You know Jo, she had huge shoes to fill.”

Fisher’s mother once worked as a secretary in the state senate, and even as a girl, Fisher said she wanted to be a secretary when she grew up. “Just like my mother.”

“Of course, they’re not called secretaries anymore,” she added. Now, it’s the perhaps more professional sounding administrative assistant.

Fisher’s mother is now 88, and still takes minutes at the church where her husband sits on committees.

Still, for Fisher, the challenges of running many county logistics fall short of raising children.

“You don’t get an instruction book at the hospital. You just hope on a day-to-day basis you get it right,” Fisher said.

Karl’s wife called one day and asked Fisher her secret to raising great children. “You know,” Fisher told her, “there is no secret.” Just lots of love.

Fisher avoided filling her head with too many expert opinions on how to raise kids. She said she wanted to use her intuition and her anecdotes reveal her willingness to indulge her children’s benign mischievousness.

For instance, her boys wanted identical outfits and Fisher asked one of her sons why. “It drives the teacher up the wall,” he said.

One time, Keith, who played the clarinet, and Karl, who played the French horn, switched places in music class. The teacher asked Karl to play the clarinet, and he succeeded.

“He just had musical talent, I guess,” Fisher said.

When the twins were boys, Fisher would put blue shoes on one, and red on the other, so if they were causing trouble in the yard, she’d know in a blink who was causing trouble.

Fisher moved to Payson in 1983, and began working with community development during the summer of 1992 in a temporary position. She began full-time with the county the next year.

The new job, Fisher says, offers plenty of variety.

She’s now planning for the upcoming county mixer, which is a quarterly meeting for county and city officials to gather and talk about common problems and solutions, as well as organizing Payson’s participation in an ongoing wellness program. May’s hydration challenge urges county employees to drink recommended quantities of water — 90 ounces for a female and 125 for a male.

“Water is good for you,” Fisher said. “A lot of people don’t realize when they’re dehydrated.”

She also listens to the questions and complaints of citizens. Fisher said she likes figuring out ways to help.

“You listen and sometimes that’s all they want,” she said. Being discrete is a large part of the job, she added. Sometimes people will complain about a neighbor, for instance, and not want that person to find out.

People with complaints about other departments call her as Martin’s assistant. “She’s their representative,” Fisher said. “I try to help.”


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