Union Bridge clerk-treasurer has changed as town has grown

April 28, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

Union Bridge Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen D. Kreimer punched the pad of her adding machine, trying to figure the taxes a resident owes, then scribbled the numbers on a pad. When she finished, she fumbled with her glasses, then placed them on her desk.

"I like to be the one looking on from the back. Everyone else deserves the credit, not me," said Mrs. Kreimer, 48. "I just do what needs to be done."

For the past 19 years, Mrs. Kreimer's attitude has shown through her actions, earning her the respect of town officials and residents alike.

"I think she has been great. I've been here for about 14 years and she has just worked well beyond the line of duty," said Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. He said Mrs. Kreimer routinely calls the town's recycling contractor, Waste Management, on behalf of residents, and answers residents' questions that save time for the council members.

"She's just an exceptional person," Mr. Jones said. "She deserves all the credit for the wonderful job she has done."

Mrs. Kreimer came to Union Bridge in 1972 when her husband Joe, 51, was discharged from the Navy. Mr. Kreimer grew up in the town and his family owned Kreimer Construction Co. and Esquire Liquors.

Mr. Kreimer has since taken over ownership of both businesses. Mrs. Kreimer and her sons, Jeff, 28, a Baltimore County paramedic, and Mike, 24, an accountant, help operate the store.

In 1975, she was asked by the Irene Williar, wife of then-mayor Edward L. Williar, to be a part-time secretary in the town office.

Mrs. Kreimer answered phones and wrote out bills, surrounded by file cabinets, a council table and two large desks jammed into the Broadway row house living room that had served as the Town Hall for 70 years.

When she became Clerk-treasurer in 1978, she had no idea how much the job would change.

"I think, back then, the job wasn't as complicated. It was not as formal," said Mrs. Kreimer. "If you wanted to build a house, you'd just tell Tom [Winebrenner, the town planning and zoning commission chairman] and he'd ask 'How big?' Now, it has to go through development review."

She also had little indication of how instrumental she would become in helping Union Bridge's government expand from its humble row house to the current municipal office building -- a handicapped-accessible, modern addition to the town's 90-year-old Pump House building.

As a member of the Town Hall Funding Committee and the effort's main cheerleader, Mrs. Kreimer solicited publicity and donations for town-sponsored events -- breakfasts, bake tables and sales of souvenir bricks commemorating the building's Sept 1993 opening -- to raise money to pay off the project's $200,000 construction loan.

To date, the committee's efforts have sliced more than $10,000 in mortgage payments and principal on the loan.

"I am very proud of this little town," Mrs. Kreimer said.

As she prepares to enter her 20th year of service to the town, Mrs. Kreimer said she still enjoys the eccentricities of her sometimes hectic career.

"If you want to work in this town, you have to wear 50 million hats," she said, laughing. "I go out and read meters, talk to people and help them solve their problems. I empty the money from the parking meters."

"I mean, Perry [Mayor Jones] fixed the urinal down at the community center Friday," said Mrs. Kreimer. "There are no descriptions for our jobs. They [town officials] were very smart that way."

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