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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville employee Jean Gallegos has spent 24 years in the same job, since a month after the city’s incorporation

Nov 02, 2020 03:57PM ● By Carl Fauver

Jean Gallegos, 80, is Taylorsville’s longest-tenured employee, starting just a month after the city’s July 1, 1996 incorporation. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Taylorsville City Community Development Administrative Assistant Jean Gallegos is not a big fan of change—at least not when it comes to where she lives or works.

“I’ve lived in the same home—just over the Taylorsville border, in Murray—since age 9,” she said. “I share the house with my two sons, while my daughter lives in South Jordan. I also have four grandkids and 10 great grandkids.”

While most people ease into retirement long before age 80, Gallegos became an octogenarian last July and the following month celebrated her 24th anniversary working for the city.

“I have no thoughts of retiring,” Gallegos said. “I am a firm believer, you work until you can’t.”

Now here’s the real kicker: Gallegos would have to work for Taylorsville 11 more years for this to become the job she has held the longest.

“I began working at Hill Air Force Base right out of high school and was there for 35 years to 1993,” she said. “I worked in their criminal investigation department, which looked into mostly minor, on-base crimes.”

Gallegos did not attend college but qualified for the HAFB position after passing a civil service exam, shortly before graduating from Granite High School in 1958. She was tested on typing, shorthand and general knowledge.

“Everyone who took the typing and shorthand class in high school had to take the civil service exam,” she said. “I know they now call typing ‘keyboarding,’ and there probably aren’t many people left who even know what shorthand is. But I used it a lot on the job.”

Gallegos said she loved her civilian position at the base and only left because they offered a strong financial bonus for people to retire.

A couple of months later, in August 1993, Jean went to work in the Salt Lake County Planning & Zoning Department. But she ended up being employed there only three years.

“I had worked with Glenn Graham at the county before he was hired as Taylorsville City’s first community development director,” Gallegos said. “He encouraged me to apply with the city. The pay was about the same. But back then, with so many cities incorporating in the valley, there was a rumor going around, there might not be as many county government jobs in the years ahead. So, it seemed like a good time to make a change.”

Nearly a quarter-century later, city current Economic and Community Development Director Wayne Harper is glad she did.

“Jean is our institutional memory and the one person who can find anything around here,” Harper said. “When we have a question, Jean is also the one who points us to the right answer.”

In her entire 24-plus years with Taylorsville City, Gallegos has only ever held one position. As a part of her administrative assistant duties, Jean also creates agendas and takes minutes for the Taylorsville Planning Commission, where Anna Barbieri served for more than 10 years, before her recent selection to fill a vacant post on the city council. 

“I love Jean, and am sorry I do not get to work with her anymore,” Barbieri said. “She takes notes like nobody else. She’s accurate, polite, pleasant, happy. Jean is awesome.”

You can add “dependable” to that list of superlatives, as well. Just a couple of years after taking her job, Gallegos broke her hand and was out of work “three or four weeks.” Since then, she has never missed clocking in for Taylorsville City more than one week at a time, for a few vacations.

Gallegos is the only remaining Taylorsville City employee hired in the last millennium. The next two longest-tenured city employees were hired in March and August of 2000.

Among her on-the-job highlights are the city’s move from its original strip mall location to the current city hall. She also appreciates Taylorsville’s dedication to its senior population.

“The Planning Commission was heavily involved in assisting Summit Vista [Life Plan Community 3390 West 6200 South] to get the zoning and building permits it needed,” Gallegos said. “I think that shows the city’s amazing commitment to its older citizens. It’s a great place to work. Everyone gets treated like family.” 

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