By: Donald Rodrigue, Hometown News
STUART -- Two years ago when the Martin County Commission asked then Senior Assistant County Attorney Sarah Woods to take over permanently as county attorney upon the sudden departure of then County Attorney Michael Durham, she warned the Board it would be a short dance due to her rapidly approaching retirement date.
True to her word, Ms. Woods said her official goodbyes at the beginning of the Dec. 18 Commission meeting after County Administrator Taryn Kryzda, commissioners and other staff lauded the outgoing attorney for 17 years of public service to Martin County.
The audience gave the retiring county attorney a standing ovation as the county administrator presented her a keepsake memento box in recognition of her Dec. 31 retirement date.
“Here comes the legal team, so now it’s no longer a surprise for Ms. Woods,” Ms. Kryzda said as the county attorney’s entire staff entered the chambers to participate. “Rather than a plaque, we thought we’d get her this little trinket box that she can do whatever she wishes with it. It just says total years of service 2001 to 2018, and she was our county attorney from 2017 and 2018 presented on the occasion of your retirement.”
Although the county administrator emphasized that neither she nor Ms. Woods were “criers” her voice broke slightly as she described her long-term association with the attorney, whom she said spent half of her 36-year legal career in Martin County.
“This is hard for me because Sarah’s been by my side,” Ms. Kryzda said. “She’s been someone that I’ve been able to confide in: We’ve raised our kids together, and we’ve solved issues not only relative to Martin County but everything going on in the county, so I appreciate her dedication to this community.”
Ms. Woods addressed the Commission and the audience, emphasizing how much she’d enjoying working for the county.
“Seventeen years ago I joined the Martin County team, and it quickly became apparent what a special workplace this is because of the quality, professionalism and dedication of the employees,” she said. “Martin County has a deep and genuine culture of caring. I’ve enjoyed working with all of the departments and staff, and of course the county attorney’s office will always have a special place in my heart. I’m grateful to be part of something that makes saying goodbye so hard. These meaningful relationships and special memories are deeply ingrained, and they’ll always be a part of me.”
Senior Assistant County Attorney Krista Storey then detailed her lengthy association with her boss, stretching back to the early 1980s.
“Not to date or age Sarah and I, but we started our careers together in the St. Lucie County Attorney’s Office,” she said. “Sarah joined in ’83 and I joined in ’84, and I talk about now when we were baby lawyers and we served under Dan Harrell who took a chance on both of us as women lawyers. About three months after I was hired, he resigned the position and Sarah -- this is actually her second stint as a county attorney -- was briefly the St. Lucie County attorney for a few months. So we date back all those years and raised our kids together: She’s been a colleague, she’s been my boss and she’s been my friend.”
Assistant County Administrator Don Donaldson then emphasized that he’d worked closely with Ms. Woods ever since he took over the Engineering Department in 1988…