Butler County solicitor Julie Graham, center, is greeted by friends and coworkers Friday during her retirement party at the Butler County Government Center. Graham of Adams Township was hired as a grant writer for the county in 1988, and she had served as county solicitor since 1996.
Now that two longtime Butler County employees' last day of work is behind them, one will be taking trips on his motorcycle while another will be skiing down the slopes in Colorado. Former county solicitor Julie Graham and her family is in the Centennial State to ski this week. After they return, Graham will “decompress.” Graham, 55, of Adams Township said Friday she needs to wind down after a difficult year working in the county commissioners office, but she would miss her job. “It's been an honor and pleasure serving with so many fine people in the county on behalf of the taxpayers,” Graham said. Friday also was the last day of work for Ed Rupert, who was director of county property and revenue since 1991. Rupert, 54, of Connoquenessing Township came in to tie up a few loose ends. He now has a new goal: “Just relax and enjoy. We're going on a few motorcycle trips.” Rupert, who was hired by the county in 1986, handed over the reins to three people who now divide his former duties. Chris Savage is the chief property assessor, Janet Mantel is the tax director and Rupert's wife, Tammy Rupert, is the mapping director. Ed Rupert said he was confident the three county employees were up to the task. Graham was hired as a grant writer in 1988, becoming assistant solicitor four years later before serving as the sole county attorney in 1996. She is succeeded as solicitor by Mike English. During a farewell gathering for Graham Friday, English said he had big shoes to fill. “I'll do the best I can,” he said. “It's an honor to replace her.” Current and past county officials expressed their gratitude for Graham's efforts over the years. Former chief clerk Bill O'Donnell welcomed his former partner in retirement. “She was one of the hardest working persons I ever met,” O'Donnell said. Commissioner Dale Pinkerton said Graham's work benefited the county. “She's always worked hard at doing the right thing for everybody.” Commissioner Bill McCarrier agreed. “She's been an excellent addition to the county,” McCarrier said. He cited Graham's willingness to help with various issues, not just legal problems. Chief clerk Amy Wilson said Graham would be missed in the commissioners' office. “The professionalism she brought to the job was exceptional,” Wilson said. “She's one of a kind.”
Former chief clerk Bill Patterson, who also served as an interim commissioner, said Graham carries a lot of history with her. “Julie has been a faithful employee for the county,” Patterson said. Retired prison warden Rich Gigliotti worked decades with Graham. He said she always treated all county employees with respect and was well-regarded. “A very hard person to replace,” Gigliotti said. Corrections officer Mark Grossman, a former union president, agreed. “I thought a lot of her,” he said. “We always got along.” County officials also wished Rupert well. McCarrier said Rupert was a boon to the county. “He's a recognized expert in his field across the state,” McCarrier said. Pinkerton said he stood out with his knowledge and ability to work with everyone. “He did a really great job,” Pinkerton said. Patterson also commended Rupert. “In the years I worked with Ed and did the county budget, it would never have been as complete and as accurate without the information submitted by Ed,” Patterson said. O'Donnell also touted Rupert's service. “Eddie's probably the best assessor in the state,” O'Donnell said. Wilson agreed Rupert's expertise would be missed. “Ed is the consummate professional,” she said. “He's just a phenomenal person. This is the end of an era.”