Pesek retires after long career in civil service

Linda Pesek, longtime finance officer in Tyndall, SD, reflects on her rewarding career

Linda Pesek has enjoyed many years both living and working in Tyndall, SD. She is a familiar face to many, having served as the city’s finance officer for 14 years.

She has served in various public service roles throughout her career, all while living in the community of about 1,200.

Now, Pesek looks forward to a relaxing retirement. Looking back, she reflects on a meaningful career she says flew by.

“It went fast,” she said. “It sounds like a long time, but it didn’t feel that way. It was a good experience.”

A long career of public service

Pesek was born in Tyndall. While her family moved to nearby Yankton for a decade when she was young, she graduated from Tyndall High School and has remained in the community to this day.

She first started working at the age of 14 at the Tyndall Bakery. She continued working after high school, finding jobs at a local factory, hardware store and at the Tyndall newspaper.

In 1987 Pesek took her first job in local government. She was hired as Tyndall’s deputy finance officer and served in that position for seven years.

In 1994 she was appointed Bon Homme County Auditor. She held the position for thirteen years before returning to the municipality.

“Between the two jobs, the duties are very similar,” she said. “But I liked working for the city because it was more personal. I felt more connected to the community.”

Pesek was hired as Tyndall’s finance officer in 2007 and will mark 20 years of total service upon retirement. Her career in the public sector spans 33 years.

She says some residents are surprised by her tenure.

“I’ve had people come in and ask, ‘you’re retiring already?’” she laughs. “And I tell them, ‘Finally retiring.’ People don’t realize. They know you from one place or the other, and they know you’ve been around for a while, but they just don’t realize for how long.”

Variety makes job rewarding

Despite spending so many years in the same job, Pesek said her favorite aspect was the variety it offered.

“You field all the city’s phone calls and it’s always something different,” she said. “It could be someone expressing concerns, or a task that needs to be completed, or questions to be answered. Every day was unique.”

Early in her career she discovered a need to be flexible and think on her feet.

“I was constantly learning, often right along with the residents.”

With its varying responsibilities, Pesek said a finance officer is more like a city manager. Beyond bookkeeping, she also managed city employees and schedules, performed administrative and payroll duties, worked closely with the council, handled economic development inquiries and more.

At one point, she found herself overseeing the Tyndall cemetery.

“The city took over the operational responsibilities, so I became the sexton. I would sell grave sites and manage the burial schedule for cremations. I also had to keep records and track finances.”

Despite its unpredictable nature, Pesek says a career in government is rewarding.

“It’s frustrating at times because things don’t work as fast as you think they should and trying to steer people in the right direction isn’t always easy,” she said. “But it’s satisfying when things come together, and you can see the fruits of your labor.”

Relaxed retirement ahead

Although she’s stepped down from her public role, folks will still spot Pesek around Tyndall. She has no definitive plans for retirement other than to continue with everyday life.

She enjoys gardening and will tend to her many flower beds. She also mows the cemetery where her parents are buried and helps on her son’s farm outside Tyndall.

Jerry, her husband of 48 years, will also retire at the end of the year. She expects them to keep close to home, maintaining their nine acres in town or looking after their six grandchildren.

“I was always working while our kids were growing up. I look forward to spending time with their children, babysitting or taking them to their many activities,” she said.

After retirement she will have a brief getaway to North Dakota to visit family. Then she’ll return to the city to help train her replacement.

“I’m sure there will be questions or things that will come up. As finance officer, you don’t do just one thing. There is so much to learn and manage.”