by DANNY WADE | Senior Editor
Kim Hadley says he has been contemplating retirement for a few months. After 26 years serving as the city of Humboldt treasurer and before that, 10 years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Hadley is closing his ledger, stowing away his pencils and turning his calculator off.
Hadley turned in his letter of retirement, with his final day on the job set for June 30, 2023. This date is the last day of the city’s fiscal year. Hadley wanted to leave with the entire year under his belt.
“I was at about 98-percent (ready to retire during those months) but held on to that 2-percent,” Hadley said. “One night I woke up at three in the morning and it hit me—I’m at 100-percent.”
Hadley said he woke his wife, Stacey, to tell her he was at 100-percent. He could not go back to sleep with this monumental decision to retire, so he got up, got ready and went to work at 5 a.m. That is when he penned his retirement letter for Mayor Marvin Sikes, the city department heads and the city hall staff, all of whom he considers family.
Hadley’s retirement leaves a huge void for the city—one that may not be easy to fill. During his tenure as city treasurer, the city has received multiple awards in finance reporting under Hadley’s watch. The past 15 years, the city of Humboldt has earned the Certificate of Achievement Excellence in Financial Reporting. This past year, Humboldt was the only city in West Tennessee outside of Shelby County to earn this achievement. But to receive the award 15 straight years is nearly unheard of with the state comptroller’s office stringent guidelines and oversight of cities’ financial records.
Hadley said these awards are not his, even though they really are. He said the mayor, department heads and all that work on the budget and finance reports are part of the team that earned this esteemed notoriety.
Before Hadley worked for the city, he attended Jackson State Community College where he received his associates degree. He moved on to Union University where he earned his bachelors degree.
Hadley went to work for TDOT in the traffic engineering division in Jackson and stayed there 10 years, but the job was not a good fit. Hadley said the job worked with statistics and he wanted to work accounting and finances.
That is when an opening became available with Humboldt. The late Humboldt Mayor Martha Hawks hired Hadley for the city treasurer position. This was the perfect fit and all the awards and certifications are proof the city made the right choice.
Six months later, Allen Barker was elected mayor of Humboldt. Mayor Barker kept Hadley on as city treasurer. For four terms as mayor, Hadley and Barker were a team when it came to the city’s finances.
When Marvin Sikes was elected mayor almost 10 years ago, he too kept Hadley onboard. During Hadley’s 26 years as city treasurer, the city’s annual audits have been near perfect with only two findings. It’s no wonder Hadley and the city’s finances have so many achievement awards.
“As city treasurer, I was a certified municipal clerk, then certified public administrator,” Hadley noted of his continued training. “Then the state required (cities to have) CMFOs (Certified Municipal Finance Officers). In 2010, I was a graduate of the state’s first graduating CMFO class.”
Going to Nashville to the State Capitol building was one of Hadley’s most treasured highlights of his career. State Comptroller Justin Wilson presented each of the inaugural graduates with an award.
Hadley said his time at city hall was more than a job. The entire staff is like one big family.
“I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work,” Hadley said. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I love the work. I’m not burnt out. I’m not leaving for health problems or another job. God told me it’s my time.”
Overseeing millions of dollars of taxpayer money that runs through the city’s budget could be overwhelming for some, but not Hadley. Hadley said it was because he and the staff treated the money as if it was their own. They have watched the budget constantly and have always looked for ways to pinch pennies to stretch the tax dollars as far as they can go.
With a month left before his retirement, the million-dollar question is what will Hadley do with his time? “That page is blank,” he replied. “I truly think it will come just like the decision to retire.”
Hadley said once the decision was made, he started a list of things to do to keep busy. Hadley said he is not one to sit on the couch and watch television, although he and Stacey do watch tv at night.
He had contemplated looking for a part-time job as a finance consultant but is not looking for a steady job. Hadley is quite the car buff and owns three Ford Mustangs—1965, 1976 and 1999. In retirement, he would have more time to tinker with his classic ponies.
The Hadley home sits on six acres. With that much property, there will always be some clean up and maintenance to keep him busy. One thing he looks forward to, which most people would think he is crazy, is cleaning the house. Who enjoys cleaning the house? Kim Hadley says he’s the man.
One thing he and Stacey will do more is travel. They have twins and will have time to visit them. Their son, Alec, lives in Illinois. They plan to visit him and do some sightseeing in Chicago. Their daughter, Amber, who lives in Clarksville, Tenn. but will soon move back to the area and work for Jackson-Madison County Schools.
Hadley praised his younger sister, Beth Martinie, for helping care for their parents, Dan and Marie Hadley. His older sister, Jan Hadley lives in Middle Tennessee.
With just a few days left on the city’s payroll, Hadley said he would not leave the city high and dry once he leaves. He said he is just a few minutes down the road and a phone call away. He is hopeful the city can find his replacement soon and find someone experienced in finance and accounting.
“I’ve been very lucky in life,” Hadley reflected on his career and pending retirement. “I’ve worked with three wonderful mayors. The unknown can be scary and that’s what I’m about to do.”