After 16 years, the county auditor/treasurer is retiring, and we have some highlights from her long career.
“It’s kind of a whirlwind when you think back. That’s kind of a long time to say one particular item stepped out or really stood out,” said Devra Smestad, former Ward County auditor/treasurer.
Smestad has worked in the public service industry for a total of 42 years throughout the community.
She worked for the Minot Police Department, City of Burlington, City of Minot and, most recently, Ward County.
During her career, she’s covered everything, from A all the way to Z. Like tax season, county commission meetings and elections.
“First election on my own, we had bomb threat first thing in the morning, so we did have to end up closing down two precincts for a couple hours. And my last one, we did a complete vote-by-mail and for a county this size, very, very labor-intensive but we pulled it off,” Smestad said.
She says having a supportive family is what kept her going through the good days and the bad. Some of the best days were… “When I was with the city is going through the chairs and becoming president for the North Dakota League of Cities. And then turning around and being on the Board of Directors for the Association of Counties and going through the chairs and becoming President of that association,” said Smestad.
We asked her what she’s going to miss the most.
“The people. The staff. You know, every day around here was different and a variety. You could plan something and a phone call or an email could send you in a different direction. So, I think that that might be the biggest miss is just the people that I worked with,” Smestad said.
But what will people close to her miss about her?
“Well, I think I’m going to miss the information that she provided. The experience she had,” said Alan Walter, Ward County Commissioner.
“The things that Devra just knows. She’s been here such a long time and worked in government so long, there’s so much knowledge she holds,” said Marisa Haman, Ward County auditor/treasurer.
Haman is going to take over for Smestad. So we asked if Smestad has any advice for Haman.
“She’s got a great start, keep her network growing, don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out,'” Smestad said.
Smestad says she doesn’t have any big plans right now but is looking forward to being on her own schedule.
She’ll be helping with the early voting for the general election but as a volunteer this time around.