Recorder Cheryl Peacock Cottle leaves ‘big shoes to fill’ as she retires from Taylorsville City
Feb 05, 2020 01:50PM
● By Carl Fauver
As one of her final official duties last month, retiring City Recorder Cheryl Peacock Cottle administered the oath of office to the three re-elected Taylorsville councilmembers. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
After working nearly 18 years for Taylorsville City — the last 12.5 as city recorder — Cheryl Peacock Cottle retired from the post, Jan. 31.
“I worked with 16 different city council members, five of the city’s six mayors and two city administrators,” Cottle said, shortly before stepping down. “I consider them all good friends and will miss them.”
Family health issues and a desire to spend more time with her growing family prompted Cottle to make the move “a couple of years earlier than I had originally planned.”
“She’s done a fantastic job, and we are definitely going to miss her,” said then City Council Chairman Dan Armstrong. “I understand she is leaving for family reasons. She will be sorely missed.”
After growing up in northeastern Utah, Cottle moved to the Salt Lake Valley more than three decades ago.
"I happily grew up in the small town of Vernal but moved to Taylorsville in 1987 where I raised my children,” she said. “I have spent the past 30-plus years here, except for a brief period living in South Jordan. My husband, Darwin Cottle, and I have been married for 13 years and have a very large blended family. Between us, our combined family includes 15 children, 53 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. They keep us very busy!”
Cottle met her husband in a grief support group after each of their previous spouses had passed away.
“Darwin was already retired from the state of Utah when we married,” she added. “He likes to say, ‘Now I only work for my wife, and it's the best job I've ever had.’ He's a very kind and thoughtful person who has been such a blessing in my life.”
Cottle began her Taylorsville City career as a part-timer in March 2002.
“I was initially hired by former Mayor Janice Auger to take city council minutes and to do some executive assistant work,” Cottle said. “I then became deputy city recorder in 2004.”
That was a particularly exciting time for Taylorsville City government, as construction of the “new” city hall was being completed. An open house and public tours of the new building were offered April 30, 2003, and the first city council meeting was held there a week later. Prior to the move — when Cottle first started — Taylorsville City offices were in a strip mall on 4700 South, just west of the belt route.
“My first office was in a tiny annex at the strip mall location,” Cottle said. “We all called it ‘the closet.’ Back then, we recorded city council meetings on cassette tapes, and I took minutes from those tapes. The new building was beautiful, and the move was awesome.”
City Administrator John Taylor will also miss Cottle.
“I truly hate to see her go, and she will be very difficult to replace,” he said. “Her recorder position is one of the most important in the city, yet also one of the quietest, and she has done it incredibly well. She helped me early in my career and was invaluable in my transition to this job. She was also always very kind doing it.”
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Cottle, 63, moved with her family to Vernal at a young age, where she graduated from Uintah High School in 1974. A generation later, all four of Cheryl’s children — two boys and two girls — graduated from Kearns High School, from 1995 to 2003. One of those sons, along with a wife and three of Cottle’s grandkids, are now living back in Vernal.
But it’s another child, living further away, who also prompted the city recorder to leave her post at this time.
“My oldest daughter lives in Houston and is due to have her first baby the end of January,” Cottle said. “I will jump on a plane immediately after retiring and spend a couple of weeks down there. She and her husband are just over the moon about having their first child, and I am anxious to go help them out.”
After serving as deputy city recorder for a little more than three years, Cottle moved into the recorder position in June 2007, when her predecessor, Virginia Loader, left to take the same position in Riverton (a post she still holds today).
“Virginia, [former Taylorsville mayor] Janice Auger and I are great friends and call ourselves the ‘Three Amigos,’ because we worked together for several years, and we each lost beloved spouses to cancer,” she said. “They were a great support to me through my loss.”
Just a year after becoming city recorder, Cottle completed an ongoing educational program through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks to earn the designation of “Certified Municipal Clerk.” The professional achievement requires many hours of study, attendance at recorder training conferences and years of experience.
More recently, Cottle received the Taylorsville City “Employee Award of Excellence” in 2013 as well as the “Mayor’s Award of Excellence the following year.
And, diligent to the very end, Cottle earned her “Master Municipal Clerk” designation, also from the IIMC, just weeks before retiring.
“It took me a long time to earn [the Master designation], and I was excited to finally reach that goal before my retirement,” she said.
“She has been amazing and wonderful to work with — so meticulous,” said Mayor Kristie Overson. “Cheryl has a sign on her desk that says ‘Nice Matters,’ and she really lives by that. No matter what I need, whenever I see her, she has a smiling, happy face. I will miss that. It will be different and hard without her. I wish her well.”
Prior to going to work for Taylorsville City, Cottle did have a momentary brush with celebrity, while working for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Salt Lake, from 1989 to 2001. Each year MDA held a national fundraising telethon, back in the days when the show was hard to miss because there were so few television channels. The comedic icon who hosted that annual telethon visited Utah one year while Cottle was on duty.
“Jerry Lewis made an appearance at our local MDA fundraiser, and I got to introduce him,” she said. “I loved him. He was charming in person and very funny.”
But her fond memories of Lewis are likely nothing compared to the fond memories she’s leaving with Taylorsville City co-workers. And Cottle says those feelings are mutual.
“I’ve loved my job at Taylorsville these last 18 years and the people I’ve worked with are like my second family,” she said. “I will truly miss interacting with them. But it will be nice to have a little more time to focus on fun things in my life, especially spoiling my grandkids.”
Just before press deadline, Cottle’s Taylorsville City recorder replacement was named. We will introduce you to Jamie Brooks next month.