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Town of Outlook Spotlight: Crystal Fisher, Municipal Office Clerk

Eye-opening job has provided perspective on what all goes into running a community.
Municipal Office Clerk Crystal Fisher says her job has opened her eyes to what goes into running the town of Outlook.

OUTLOOK - When it comes to some people who work for the Town of Outlook, their previous work history was unlike anything that they're doing right now.

Take Crystal Fisher, for example. As one of the town's municipal office clerks for the last few years, her current position is a big difference from what she was doing before.

"I started in July of 2019, so I've only been here for just about three years," she said, sitting down with this reporter. "I've never done this kind of work before, as I worked for Loblaws as a specialist for the bakery for all of Saskatchewan. I did that for about five years, and I think my total time with Loblaws was 30 years, and then this opened, so here I am!"

For Fisher, hunting for a new line of work was about finding some much-needed stability in her personal life, and her current job has been a great fit for her.

"It was advertised, so I thought I'd apply," she said. "I have a 13-year old son, and I was traveling all the time with my previous positions, and I wanted to be home more, so this was a really nice fit. I applied, they hired me, and the rest is history because I'm still here!"

As was discovered in previous talks with those who work for the Town, very rarely is there a day on the job that one might call 'typical'. What one might be doing on Monday is different from what your Wednesday may look like, and by Friday, it could be a whole new ball game. In trying to meet the demands that come with the job, Fisher says it's also highly important to get some face time with the public, who they work to serve.

"Very rarely is our day typical in the office; it would be nice if it was," said Crystal. "It really depends on the time of the year and what's going on in town. I'm also in charge of payroll, so every two weeks I have to make sure that timecards are done and that everybody gets paid correctly, and all those sort of things. Mostly, when we're open to the public, we try to concentrate on that first because customer service is really important. We want people to know that what they're doing, them coming in and bringing us their concerns, it has value; we really want that to be portrayed. We do a lot of that during the day, and then we close at 4:00, which is when we kind of play catch-up, doing paperwork and making sure all the questions have been answered. We want everyone to know that we understand. Your concerns are valid and we want to help you as best as we can. We try to make sure that everybody gets what they've come for."

When asked what the biggest challenges of the job may be, Fisher gives an unsurprising answer that lends credence to the fact that there may not be enough hours in a day to get everything crossed off your checklist.

"Time - there's never enough time in a day," she said. "There's always something that we'd like to do better, but again, time is never necessarily on our side. Everybody that I work with, they all love this community and we all want to make it better. We love when people come in and want to be a part of it; wanting to join committees, wanting to talk about something that might work or something they're really interested in. We love that part of it and that's amazing. We take so much pride in where we live that we want everybody else to feel the same way. We want everyone to love where they live."

Crystal says she very much enjoys the people who she works with, crediting them as a diverse group of individuals who all have the same goals in mind when it comes to serving the community. As well, it's the kind of job where one doesn't necessarily stop learning; if Fisher goes home at the end of the day with something new that she learned, it was a productive day.

"The people that work for the town are amazing," she said. "The diverse group, the skill set that they have is phenomenal. They're really great people, and there's always some kind of joke or laugh, making for some great comradery. If you learn something every day, you feel like you've accomplished something, and that's huge. I've learned so many things that I had no idea about: infrastructure, water, how to build a sidewalk, lots of really amazing things that we might take for granted as taxpayers and people who live here. It's been great, and I love learning."

As someone who was entering a new field of work a few years ago that's centered on the behind-the-scenes inner workings of the community, Crystal says her eyes were opened right away to the structure of how things are done and how tasks get accomplished. She says the public would gain a whole new level of understanding about this line of work if they stepped in her shoes.

"I think that people may take for granted that something is maybe 'easy' or that it's something we can fix, and that's because when a town is run well, you just naturally take for granted that something is easy, and it really isn't," she said. "For infrastructure, for example, to replace any kind of infrastructure that's under the ground, there's so much planning that has to go into that. We can't just fix the pipe because we've got to arrange for all of these other pieces to come together so that we *can* fix the pipe. I think that's a big thing, that some people just think, 'Well, just go and do it', and I'd love to be able to say 'Absolutely! We'll go and do that!' but I can't because I have to make sure we have all the things we need to go and do that correctly. This council especially has been amazing and they want to fix so much, but they're also very aware of things like budgets. They don't want to raise taxes and they want people to be happy, and so they're very cognizant of what's going on and what has to happen for the future. These are the kind of things that you just don't know about until you work here."

Crystal says it's the people who make Outlook the town that it is today, crediting them as a mixture of people who bring a lot to the table as far as helping to make the community stand out. The knowledge and the spirit that people bring to initiatives aimed at advancing the town forward are what will help Outlook move into the future.

"The people," she said. "I've only lived here for 11 years, and the people are helpful, generous and knowledgeable. The amount of people you run into that know so much about different things in this one small community, it's great. They like to help and they like to volunteer and they like being involved, and that's what makes a really strong community to me; we all want to be here together and work to make it better. That's what Outlook has that I don't think other communities do; that ability and that want to be a part of something and create something better. I think the people are amazing."

As for any last words to the public, Crystal says the Town is always listening and that they want to hear from you if you have ideas or suggestions for the community. It's the people who make a community what it is, and everybody has to work together to make sure they're all headed toward the same goal.

"We love to hear from you," said Fisher. "We love to hear what you're thinking, we love to hear your concerns. We want to make the community as best as we can, so we want to work with everybody to do that. We'd love to hear what you have to think and what you'd like to see in this community. Are there things that we may be missing? We've had quite a few suggestions for something like a dog park, because we don't have one, and so that's one of the things that Recreation is working on. It'd be great to hear from people because we want people to feel involved in what's going on here at home."