After 33 years as Tomball’s city secretary, Doris Speer is set to retire on March 1, she said in a Feb. 16 interview.
“When I got here, we had a little over 5,000 residents, maybe 2,000 registered voters,” Speer said. “Now we have over 7,000 [registered voters].”
Speer said when she started working for the city, it was a small town.
“When I first got here, Lee Tipton was the mayor, and Don Taylor was the city manager,” Speer said. “And I’ve had five mayors—Lori [Klein Quinn] is the fifth—and I’ve had seven city managers.”
As city secretary, Speer and her team oversee everything from public meeting agendas and elections to managing the city’s records, she said.
“We provide support to the mayor and council, [and] every department, in some form or fashion, we work with, whether it’s receiving records, giving them records, providing information, [or] helping them figure out what the law is so they know what they can do and cannot do,” Speer said.
Following Speer’s retirement, Assistant City Secretary Tracy Garcia will take over as the new city secretary, with approval of her appointment taking place at the Feb. 20 City Council meeting.
“I’m excited, but I have tough shoes to fill,” Garcia said. “I refer to her as my aunt and Tomball’s walking encyclopedia, because she has all these facts, and she is able to retain all this information.”
Speer said she is planning to do some work around her house and spend time with her mother in retirement.
“I am going to enjoy retirement,” Speer said. “I’ve been working since I was 15, so I think I’m just going to take it easy for a while.”
Garcia said in the Houston chapter of the Texas Municipal Clerks Association, a scholarship in Speer’s honor is in the works.
“There’s going to be a discussion to formally name a scholarship in her name for the other fellow city secretaries in the Houston-Galveston area that are part of our local chapter of city secretaries across this area,” Garcia said.
City Manager David Esquivel said Speer is usually the first or second person he greets every morning.
“She is always there to support anybody on the staff,” Esquivel said. “She cares about everybody, and I don’t have to go very far to figure that out.”
Esquivel also said Speer has a lot of institutional and historical knowledge.
“If I ever wondered, ‘How did we get to this point to have an ordinance or just a situation that has evolved?’ Nine times out of 10, if not 10 [times] out of 10, Doris can give you some kind of background on whatever it is that we’re dealing with,” Esquivel said.
To celebrate her years of service, the city will be holding a retirement party for Speer, Garcia said.
“She’s like the lighthouse,” Garcia said of Speer. “No matter what’s going on, you know where you’re going as long as you can see that light. She’ll be missed. I don’t want to get emotional, but she’ll be missed. She has been a great mentor and a friend.”