A Q&A with Dodge County Clerk Fred Mytty

JEFF FRONT Fremont Grandstand

Dodge County Clerk Fred Mytty is scheduled to depart at sundown Jan. 5, the day his successor, longtime deputy county clerk Micki Gilfry, is sworn in.

First elected in 1974 on the recommendation of seeking a position from a neighbour, Mytty was subsequently re-elected 11 more times for a total term of 48 years. The Fremont Tribune recently took the time to speak with Mytty and dig deeper into her career and post-employment plans.

TRIBUNE: How do you view your career? How important has the job been to you? What was the best thing about it?

Mytty: “I enjoyed the people I work with and enjoyed most of the jobs associated with it. We draw up the county budget. We are also the largest county in the state which (the clerk) is also the commissioner of elections. State statutes state that any county with a population greater than 20,000 must have a separate appointed office of commissioner of elections, but our board did not create that separate office. It’s a quote, a “part-time” job that I have been doing for 48 years.

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TRIBUNE: Why did you first decide to stand for election in 1974?

Mytty: “On the one hand, my neighbor across the street was president of the Republican Party, and he said, ‘why don’t you run? and it went from there. I was going after the incumbent (in that first election) and campaigned a lot, and I was happy to win.

TRIBUNE: During your 12 terms, why did you seek re-election again and again?

Mytty: “There are several things that came to mind. I thought my background was important, especially back in the 1980s when the (then) Governor came up with Project 2000, where they were going to connect every town in Nebraska with four-lane highways. Then 2000 came, and we didn’t make it. I kept thinking, Fremont is going to be a center of commerce. I just thought we were going to grow and that’s what kept me going.

TRIBUNE: Was there ever a time when you thought about retiring and not getting re-elected?

Mytty: “Yes. It occurred to me after my second term. The situation then, and it continues today, was for elected officials – their salary cannot change during their term of office unless ‘it is fixed by a formula before January 15 of the year of deposit. Thus, at the time, by a vote of 4 against 3, the supervisory board fixed the salary in the same way for the four years The salary was $14,000 (per year) and in the 1970s the inflation rate was about 12% It went from $14,000 at the end of that term to $27,000 or $28,000 for the next term. So you’re sitting there thinking, ‘Well, my God, you don’t want anybody else to get that raise.’ You want that raise, not someone else. So I ran for a third term. Then they added the inflation rate to the salary, so it got better over the years. It was tough .

TRIBUNE: Are there any employees you are particularly proud of?

Mytty: “I had a very good staff. Micki (Gilfry), my assistant clerk, I rely on her a lot, so we are good acquaintances.

TRIBUNE: What are your plans for your retirement?

Mytty: “I will be staying around Fremont, but I plan to travel a lot. I’m going to try to do an open-mic comedy. My son and I took a stand-up class at Lincoln. For graduation, all 12 students in the class had to do a five-minute routine. My son and I had a good laugh. It was a combination of my son (idea) and I have a kind of dry humor. I’m in a bridge club and I also like to play bridge.

TRIBUNE: Is Mytty a Czech surname?

Mytty: “No. I tell everyone, my grandparents on my mother’s side were born in Sweden. My paternal grandparents were born in Finland. So, I tell people, I’m half Swedish and half finished.

TRIBUNE: Do you eat lutefisk at Christmas?

Mytty: “If there is, I don’t eat it. Lingonberry, I like that, and Swedish pancakes.

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