Commissioners recognize retiring county employees Parnell, Pendergrass
Posted at 12:05 a.m. on Sunday, December 11, 2022
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SALISBURY — Tonya Parnell and Bob Pendergrass have a combined 70+ years working for Rowan County.
This experience is going to be missed, as was shown at the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, when the commissioners gave special recognition to the two long-serving employees who are both retiring this month.
Parnell has worked in the Rowan County Tax Collector’s Office since 1989. She was the youngest hired at the time as a tax clerk in Rowan County and in 1991 she was promoted to accounting clerk. She held this position until 1997, when she was again promoted to tax collection clerk. A year later, she became assistant tax collector.
In 2005, she became an assistant tax collector, then was promoted to tax collector in 2008. She peaked in 2019 when she officially became a Rowan County tax collector.
Parnell said his favorite part after all these years was working with citizens and being able to help them solve their problems.
“Working with the audience is the best part about it,” Parnell said. “And of course having a great team and the different people I’ve worked with over the years is what I’m going to miss the most.”
Her last day is December 31 and she plans to travel, go camping and spend time with her family, especially her two granddaughters and her grandson.
Parnell was accompanied by her husband, Fire Chief Bob Parnell, and received a plaque recognizing her for her years of service.
“It’s been a good 30 years for us and we hope it’s been a good 30 years for you,” Commissioner Greg Edds said during the meeting. “What you are doing between you and the tax administrator is really helping our county run.”
Pendergrass started as a part-time county employee in 1977 when he was 17 years old and served in a variety of positions including director of the Dan Nicholas Park Campground and the park’s nature center until 1984 while he continued his studies. .
He returned to the Nature Center in 1989 as a part-time park attendant until becoming a full-time employee as a naturalist in 1995. He was responsible for caring for wildlife as corn snakes, bald eagles and black bears. Pendergrass monitored these animals and implemented educational programs for zoo visitors.
It took just a year for Pendergrass to show his skills and dedication and in 1996 he became the Nature Center Supervisor. He remained in this role for 20 years, until taking over as Director of Animal Services in 2016.
As Director, his duties included responsibility for the Nature Center, Rowan County Animal Sanctuary, and Animal Law Enforcement divisions. Pendergrass and her team care for all pets in Rowan County and herd strays at the shelter until they are able to find a home.
“It’s something new every day and it’s a lot of responsibility,” Pendergrass said. “A lot of citizens are involved in the shelter and there are people working with the rescue to help them find a home. It’s kind of a village situation.
His last day of work will be December 22.
Pendergrass also received a plaque from the commissioners thanking him for his service.
“You have made a huge difference in all of our animal services,” said Commissioner Craig Peirce. “I can’t say enough about you Bob, you know how I feel about the work you and all your staff do there.”
After receiving the plaque, Pendergrass thanked his staff and said it was an honor for him to work in Rowan County.
“The only time I said I had the best job in the world was when I worked for Rowan County and it was because of the people I got to work with. That was a great pleasure and honor to be a public servant for Rowan County Government,” Pendergrass said. “Thank you very much.”