MAYVILLE - Longtime Chautauqua County Clerk Sandy Sopak has announced her retirement, culminating two decades worth of civil service.
Sopak, who will not seek a sixth term in office, has been county clerk since 1994. She is only the third woman to hold the office since 1811.
"After five terms of office and 20 years of living, breathing, crying and bleeding the county Clerk's Office, it's time to turn it over, knowing I left it better than I found it with a solid foundation for the next clerk," Sopak said in a news release.
Sopak saw the office through the computerization of records and electronic imaging of documents. With the help of grants in the amount of $1.6 million, the Clerk's Office upgraded its recording and filing system and scanned millions of documents.
"She really set the standard for the office," said Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards. "She's going to be hard to replace. Sandy has made records open and available in the elements to the people."
In 1999, Sopak was honored with the Award of Merit, presented by the National Genealogical Society, by former Congressman Amo Houghton. She was the first county clerk to receive the award.
Sopak also was recognized in 2004 by receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and Clerk of the Year by the New York State Association of County Clerks. Three years later, she won the Wheeler Melius Award for outstanding service in records management.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the people of Chautauqua County," Sopak said. "You have all been so wonderful to me. I will enjoy seeing you out and about in this beautiful county we call home."