Luther Town Manager Scherrie Pidcock was named Municipal Woman of the Year at the Oklahoma Municipal League awards banquet in Tulsa on September 19, 2019. It was the inaugural award for a new program to spotlight female leadership in municipal government across the state. Pidcock was named for the award in a category for Cities Under 5000.
Nominees were sought for the award for those who have “demonstrated leadership, being a mentor and are a catalyst in change in municipal government in her community.” In announcing the award recipient, Pidcock’s accomplishments were shared before the large crowd of statewide municipal leaders, their families and fans. Pidcock served more than 20 years in municipal government for The Village, before coming to work in the office for The Town of Luther in 2016 and was elevated to Town Manager. Pidcock has also been a small business owner, community volunteer, founder of Josephine’s Farmers Market, and serves the leadership team of the Luther Pecan Festival.
In her nomination submitted by the Luther Register, it was noted:
When Scherrie Pidcock was hired by the Town of Luther in 2016 to work in the office, she had her work cut out for her. Those days were filled with tracing steps to correct serious issues when it came to policy, practices and BUDGET. She also was able to look forward to give attention to planning and infrastructure needs. An example of success is found in this story or this story from The Luther Register.
While helping to put the small municipality on better footing, the Town Board of Trustees recognized Pidcock’s efforts and was able to promote her to Town Manager, a new role for the Town. Her diligence and leadership has helped the town in tremendous ways with credibility, fiscal responsibility, accountability and professionalism. A great example of that came in August 2019, when the Luther Public Works Authority was awarded a CDBG grant to fix a water main in a process that took months of data collection and preparation to receive the grant, following years of inattention to the town infrastructure.
Dawn Shelton, publisher of The Luther Register, admits it might appear strange for the local reporter to nominate someone for an award. “I saw the nomination come up on my Facebook feed earlier this summer, and I immediately thought of Scherrie. I didn’t think I would be qualified to nominate but when I asked the awards coordinator if I could and she said yes, it was worth a chance to be unorthodox and go for it.
“I’ve had a front row seat to the Town for four years doing this online newspaper and Scherrie and many other dedicated employees, elected officials and volunteers serve their hearts out, are always willing to learn, and get back up when they get knocked down in public opinion” said Shelton. She said she might catch criticism for appearing biased in her nomination, but Shelton told the OML awards committee that local journalism and news in general is changing and in danger of going away, so community journalists are forging a new path that might include some community cheerleading and solutions journalism along the way.
Pidcock thanked her husband, John, for his support and understanding when she has to work extra hours for meetings and emergency meetings. She also thanked her daughters, Amanda Richards and Ashley Fuqua for being her cheerleaders. Pidcock thanked Mayor Jenni White and the rest of the board for its support and the Luther Register for the nomination.
I love my town. L-A is what we call it, Luther America! I love serving in my town; and trying to do the best I can in this position for the citizens of our town. This is really humbling to see the greatness and leaders in this room. I appreciate being here, and the support you give each other,” said Pidcock as she accepted the award that was announced at the event.
Although Pidcock was notified that she was a finalist for the award, she did not know she won until it was announced at the banquet that had several hundred guests, and on FB Live via The Luther Register ‘s page. Interestingly, the award winner for the Municipal Woman of the Year for cities larger than 5,000 persons was Patty Dixon, vice mayor of Sand Springs. Pidcock is a native of Sand Springs and the pair shared the spotlight during the special evening.
Pidcock spent Tuesday through Thursday at the OML conference as the only representative from Luther. She said she learned valuable information on a variety of topics related to municipal work, including information about the Main Street Program with the Department of Commerce. The Oklahoma Municipal League is the organization that cities and towns can join to receive help on issues affecting municipalities that range from legal help, to infrastructure, hiring and legislative work.
Patty Dixon of Sand Springs and Scherrie Pidcock of Luther were named Municipal Women of the Year.
Eastern Oklahoma County was well-represented at the OML function. Jones Mayor Ray Poland was a finalist for Mayor of the Year, and he took home the prize as Mayor of the Year for Cities Under 5,000. Among his many thanks yous to his fellow board members and city employees was a nod to his wife, Kelly and his mother who attended the event. Poland’s wife, Kelly, posted on social media her excitement about the award, “He doesn’t always make everyone happy while doing the job, but absolutely NO ONE can say he doesn’t put the Town of Jones FIRST. (In case you’re wondering, Ray was nominated by and voted on by fellow mayors who know exactly what it takes to be a great Mayor!!). CONGRATULATIONS Ray!!! You so very much deserve it!!!”
Many who took the stage at the event that celebrated municipal professions commented on their joy of service, and joked about the criticism and scrutiny received daily in the work. Award winner Dan Galloway, who served as City Manager in Stillwater and El Reno, told the crowd it is a big responsibility to protect other people’s tax money, but one should do what one believes. He also quoted President Abraham Lincoln regarding hearing criticism and balancing it with ones own integrity. “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very beest I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end,” Galloway quoting Lincoln.