Ronetta Burroughs is the office administrator for the Garland County Sheriff’s Department and is described by her co-workers as “the person everyone goes to for answers.” She started as the front desk receptionist at the sheriff’s office in 2013 and has since worked her way up, having worked in positions in the civil department, human resources and at the new detention center.
“Ronetta does a lot to keep the sheriff’s office running smoothly and I think she is an example of a strong, successful, motivating woman. In the three months I have been employed here I have never seen her lose her cool. She is always professional and helpful without being condescending. She is an example of what every supervisor should strive to be,” said Bertha Freeman, receptionist for the sheriff’s office.
What are your work duties as office administrator?
Ronetta Burroughs: My No. 1 priority is to make sure the sheriff and chief deputy know what’s going on; just a daily recap of what’s happening in the office. Of course, they take care of all the law enforcement stuff, but I take care of the office stuff. I go out (to the detention center) just to kind of be a liaison so that if they have questions about the sheriff ’s office, you know, or anything for HR. I kind of go back and forth.
What does a typical day at the office look like for you?
RB: About 6,000 steps because I have a step counter, so that’s good — it’s about the only exercise I get. Really, I start my day opening my email. I have a lot of interaction with the courthouse, the financial office, budget, stuff like that. All of my ladies, I have to make sure all of the positions are covered and if not, I will either get someone to cover for them or I’ll cover. I’ll cover the front desk. I do a lot of phone calls, a lot of contract information, I work with our vendors, I work with our employees. I stay busy.
What did you do before taking the office administrator position?
RB: I went from front desk, to the civil department, to the transition team — when they were building the detention center, which was wonderful; I learned a whole lot there. Then from the front desk at the detention center I came back here as HR. I’ve learned so much being able to do those positions.
What is your favorite part of your job?
RB: Knowing that we’re serving the public is No. 1. Making a difference. I’d never been around law enforcement before this position and I have learned so much respect for what they do. It’s a great atmosphere and the ladies I work with make the difference. I don’t have to worry about all the little things because they get done.
Is there anything you don’t like about your job?
RB: I like to always have all my work done and it’s almost impossible to get everything completed every day. I’m kind of bad, I’ll want to stay late just to finish something and it’ll be here tomorrow so I’m kind of learning that.
Do you have any interaction with the inmates at the detention center?
RB: I don’t. I go back to medical and I pick up medical billing because everything office-oriented is done over here at the sheriff’s office, so I do have a lot of interaction with the detention center, but not the inmates. I pick up all of their employee forms, whether it’s their doctor notes to turn in for their files, all the personnel stuff, I check on their supplies — they have a great receptionist over there so she kind of does all of the legwork and then if she needs anything I check with her. I try to go over there about once a week.
Who else do you work with at the sheriff’s office?
RB: When you come in to the front desk, that’s usually Ms. Bertha Freeman; she directs everybody. They come in and say, ‘I want to make a payment,’ and she’ll send them to bookkeeping. They want to file a report, she has to call back to CID and have an investigator take a report. So she’s our front face, which I loved doing whenever I first started working here. Bookkeeping takes all of the fines and fees, payments, all of the circuit court payments. So if you go to court and you are charged a fine or a fee, we set up your account over here and
we take all of your payments until it’s paid in full.
Then we do the accounts payable for the sheriff’s office and detention center here. We do all of the payroll for 184 employees; that’s the lady who has her own position. She also does our purchasing so between payroll and purchasing, she kind of juggles that. We have our HR coordinator; she does all of the hiring up to the decision-making. She does all of the paperwork, from applications, getting them through background, getting them through their physicals and psychs.
We have a civil division, which is Sarah; she takes care of everything civil — if it’s a subpoena that needs to be served, if it’s a child support warrant that needs to be served, if she has an order of protection then she has to process all of those and then send an officer out. And records, you can come in and get any report you need a copy of. And I kind of have to know all of their positions because if somebody’s not here, I have to be able to help.
What did you do before you came to the sheriff’s office?
RB: I was a private business owner for 17 years and I did banking for 10 years prior to that. We owned Discount Boots; it was a family business for 33 years. My husband worked there and we bought it from his parents about 17-18 years ago and then it just came time that it was time to close.
What do you and your husband do with your free time?
RB: We enjoy the lakes, of course. Mike has always fished — he grew up on the lake, so he’s always fished and I like to fish also. We hunt together and we take our grand babies to the deer woods. We bowl; we met bowling when we were younger, as teenagers. We still bowl together. We’re pretty active. I have three grown daughters, three son-in-laws and five grandchildren.