City Clerk Kathie Ratliff believes leaders prepare others to succeed

City Clerk Kathie Ratliff first started working in government in 2011 at the Callaway County Clerk’s Office as deputy clerk.

Before that, she was homeschooling her daughters and designing websites.

“My friend who had been elected asked if I was interested in doing website design for her page,” Kathie said. “She wanted a county clerk page, so I designed the county clerk page. Then an opening came up, and I already had the management skills for that part. It was like a two-for-one deal getting to be able to work there too.”

While she started part-time, it wasn’t long before Kathie moved into a full-time position. After less than a year, the person who had “been the rock there” and knew the ins and outs of the office took another position. Kathie needed to jump into handling accounts payable, essentially making sure the county’s bills got paid, and the rest of her job focused on elections.

“It’s only one day, most people say, but it’s really a 12-week process for each one,” she said. “Some years, we were in an election process for 48 weeks out of the year, and it was all we ate, slept, and breathed.”

She moved into the City Clerk role at the end of last year where she’s overseeing city elections, city council minutes and agendas, and business licenses among other things. Kathie said her favorite part of the job is swearing in new officers.

Two of the quotes Kathie said she lives by are, “evil happens when good men stand by and do nothing”, and “good leaders make more leaders.”

“I have always believed that if I’m doing my very best as a leader, I’m setting a precedent to leave a better legacy behind for the people coming behind me so they never will walk in and find what I found when I walked in the door or to make that situation better,” she said. “If I’m training people with every piece of knowledge that I know, they’re going to go out and succeed.

“Honestly, leaders aren’t at the front of the pack. They’re behind their people,” she said. “A leader will never refuse to do the job that they ask someone else to do. And they will stand beside someone as they’re doing it – arm in arm. So, leaders often are not the voice of the organization. In my opinion, I don’t think they have to be.”