Longtime clerk happy to be back at work
Regular visitors to the court clerk’s office at the Pitkin County Courthouse might have noticed a significant absence behind the counter in recent months.
Glenita Melnick, a stalwart presence in the clerk’s office since July 1987, was missing for more than 31/2 months after severely breaking her foot and heel. Other employees picked up the slack for Melnick, whose institutional knowledge is practically unrivaled, but it wasn’t easy.
“It’s hard for this office to operate without Glenita,” said Ian Roberts, an assistant clerk. “We made it, but her experience makes it easier to go about our day-to-day business.”
Melnick, 72, broke her heel and tibia bone above her ankle after a nasty misstep on a baby gate at her son’s home in Grand Junction on Dec. 27. She’s been back at her familiar perch behind the clerk’s office counter for nearly a month now and said she only contemplated retirement briefly during the months of recovery.
“The first day it happened, I figured that was it,” she said. “It was over.”
However, after spending a week in the hospital and two weeks in a nursing facility before going back to her son’s home to fully recover, Melnick changed her mind.
“I watched our warehoused elderly in the nursing home,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’m not far from (their ages), but I have no desire to join their ranks.’
“As long as I can be of value, I want to keep working.”
Melnick takes the bus into Aspen every day from her home downvalley near Aspen Village and has never lived in Aspen proper. However, the town has a special place in her heart, and she’s never wanted to work anywhere else.
“I was comfortable here,” she said. “It’s just a very unique area that has this relaxed atmosphere. I like the people.”
It also helped that for 15 years, she was able to bring her beloved schnauzer, Sassy, to work with her, Melnick said.
“I never asked if I could, I just brought her in,” she said. “You can’t adopt a kid and leave it at home.”
However, after 15 years, Sassy had enough of going to work every day.
“She decided she didn’t want to come anymore,” Melnick said. “She just planted her feet and said, ‘I’m not going to go.’ She’s an old lady. She retired. She hasn’t figured out why I haven’t.”
A picture of Sassy hangs in the court clerk’s office, however, just in case anyone might pine for her.
And while Sassy may have retired, Melnick has no idea when she might do the same.
“I haven’t the foggiest,” she said.
As of now, Melnick is just happy to be back within familiar surroundings.
“It’s felt really good to be back,” she said. “It’s nice to have a reason to get and be in the morning.”
Her co-worker couldn’t agree more.
“It’s great (having her back),” Roberts said. “She’s like a motherly figure. You feel like you can talk to her, and not just about work.”
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