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Posted: November 27, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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Around the Well: A thank you to Anne Peppers

In December, council member Anne Peppers will finish her final term as a member of the Social Circle City Council.
Anne chose not to run for another term. She has been involved with the city for 36 years. Upon retirement, she will have been on the city council for 12 years and before that, she served as city clerk for about 25 years. While she was city clerk, she also served on the Social Circle School Board for 24 years. She feels that it's time to move on to other pursuits.

Ms. Peppers worked at a number of jobs before coming to the city. She worked in the Walton County Tax Commissioners Office for seven years, followed by employment with the Georgia Central Bank (currently Pinnacle Bank) and the Tri-County Livestock Co. She joined the city as city clerk in 1976. At that time Mr. S.W. Causey served as a part-time administrator; there was an all-volunteer fire department; and policing was done by the Walton County Sheriff's office. In the office there was no "staff" other than Anne. Her job at that time was to do everything - clerical, administrative, cleaning, maintenance, whatever needed doing. She laughs about that, claiming to have been truly "a jack of all trades" at city hall. And in addition, she of course did her job as city clerk.

Since 1976, Anne has witnessed a lot of changes during which she not only survived but thrived. As city clerk, she first served under Mayor W.B. Stephens. She recalled that in those years, Mayor Stephens (of Stevens Oil) and Roy Malcom (of what was then Social Circle Bank) alternated as mayor every four years. She then served under Frank Sherill for the entirety of his 19-year tenure as mayor. All council offices were elected on a city-wide basis. The schools were in fact a department of city government. Since that time, a professional city manager position was established. Social Circle City Schools became a separate governmental entity, apart from the city government. For the first time, voters for 1998 offices elected their council members from newly created council districts, rather than at-large. Finally, approximately five years ago, the city initiated its own police function and created a public safety department combining police and fire services within a single department.

Frank Sherill shared these thoughts about Anne: "No one has more knowledge nor has done more, longer in Social Circle than Anne Peppers. Her service on the Social Circle School Board and as city clerk was extraordinary and she then went on to serve with great honor on the city council. When I was mayor, I came to really appreciate and depend on Anne's many fine qualities. She knew everybody, did everything and was incredibly dedicated to the City of Social Circle. She's caring, she's sharp, and she has a great moral sense of our city. "

Fellow council member Angela Porter had this to say about Anne: "I learned the ropes about city government from Miss Anne. I have an enormous amount of respect for her." On a more personal note, Angela recalled her trips to Savannah with Anne and husband, Charlie. She said they both had such a great sense of humor and kept her laughing the whole way.

On a personal note also, Anne experienced the untimely loss of Charlie in 2006 due to complications from his diabetes. Anne and Charlie were high school sweethearts and were married in 1954. At the time of his passing, Charlie Peppers had been retired from the Atlanta Police Department for several years. From what I hear, Charlie was a real "character." According to Anne, Charlie's friends managed to stretch him half an inch in order to qualify for a police job. They physically pulled him in opposite directions and he finally made it! Charlie served briefly on the council to finish out the unexpired term of his brother, Phil Peppers, who died in 1998. In a public sense, Charlie was a man of few words. The way Anne tells it: "I admit that Charlie was not cut out for public life. He didn't like ‘all that talking.'"
Consequently, he chose not to run on his own name; instead Anne sought and won the council seat for the 2000 term.

Anne and Charlie were the devoted parents of two daughters, Teresa and Tammy, and spent a good bit of their retirement years providing after-school transportation and care for their grandchildren. Even today, when needed, Anne transports her granddaughter to and from classes in Athens.

David Keener says about Anne: "I am proud to call Anne not only a teammate, but a close friend. I was saddened when she chose not to seek re-election for council district four. I had the opportunity to work with Anne for three years and I can honestly say that I always felt that she was one to ‘vote her heart' and that she truly cared for the city and the constituents that she represented. I, as well as the city, will miss her smiling face and the experience and expertise that she provided to our council. I wish her well in her future endeavors."

Mayor Burgess adds this postscript: "Anne Peppers has always been a great inspiration to me as mayor, first as city clerk and second as a member of the city council. When I was first elected mayor in 1997, Anne was then the city clerk and our city was experiencing very serious financial difficulties. Anne's greatest contribution has been her financial stewardship. As chairman of the finance committee, she kept us on budget and despite rising costs, we were able to achieve a strong financial position without an increase in taxes. Anne really watched the financials and questioned any expenditure that was out of line. Thank you, Anne, for your wise counsel and guidance."

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