Olive Hill has a brand new city clerk but the face behind the desk is one that most people will recognize as a fixture at City Hall for the last two decades.
Angela Owens has spent the better part of the last 20 years working in various capacities for the city.
Starting out as a part-time administrative employee, she quickly moved up to a full-time position as a utility clerk before being hired in 2003 as assistant city clerk.
Though Owens isn't originally from Carter County, she still feels invested in the community because her connection to the town goes all the way back to her childhood.
“I grew up in Lewis County but Olive Hill was actually closer to us than Vanceburg so my family did a lot of business here in town,” Owens said.
“I spent a lot of time here as a kid and I feel like this place is just as much a home to me as anywhere else.”
Being at City Hall as long as she has, Owens has seen a lot of faces come and go in the city's administration and government. Throughout all the changes, however, her presence has served as a source of stability – something she attributes to her attitude and work ethic.
“I'm pretty down to earth and I try to be an open book. What you see is what you get with me. I care about this town and take pride in what I do, always trying my best to get things right and to be an honest person,” she said.
Stepping into the city clerk’s position, however, presents a new challenge for Owens. Taking the job so close to the end of the fiscal year, coupled with uncertainty about if or when her position might be re-classified, have made the transition difficult.
“Things are a little stressful right now because there many unknowns about the job. I'm doing the best I can given all of that, but there's a lot of pressure right now to not make mistakes,” Owens said.
Despite the obstacles, however, she still sees life and potential for a town that's struggled to recover from two devastating floods and a tarnished image due to past and present legal issues.
“I'm really hopeful that Olive Hill can move forward and progress as a town. The past is the past and we have to put aside negative attitudes and try not to be so suspicious of everyone,” Owens said.
“It's a fresh start for Olive Hill, so I'm just trying to stay positive in the midst of everything.”
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.