A Tribute to Dale Barstow After 50 Years of Service
Hello to our Municipal Clerks and IIMC members!
I was initially going to do this message in person at the IIMC conference, but sadly it was canceled. So, I decided to bring it to you virtually instead.
For those of you whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, I’m Donny Barstow and was first known as the son of Dale Barstow. My dad is a special man, and it is because of him that I stand where I am today. The relationship that we have with our municipal clerks started back in 1971 when Dale was challenged by his boss to take the lead on meeting with clerks about codification services.
I write this tribute to honor my dad and prepare for his retirement in February 2021, after 50 years of service to the local government community.
His retirement is before the next IIMC conference, so we are finding new ways to celebrate his work and relationships with so many of you.
First and foremost, my dad taught me about municipal clerks from a very early age. He taught me that:
Clerk’s jobs are tough, and expectations are high.
Clerk’s are the most caring people in the world.
Clerk’s know how to have fun!
And lastly, that in business, we always take care of our clerks, even if it costs money. Do what is right, always, because trust is everything.
If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Dale, allow me to share his history:
My dad is from a small town in Florida and grew up on a farm. His education focused on airplanes; he went to Emory Riddle, and then joined the Navy and built up flight time. His journey with clerks began at Municipal Code Corporation (Municode) in 1971. The company purchased an airplane and hired him to fly the owner around the country to sell codification services to municipalities. The owner would have him join the business meetings rather than wait at the airport. After a couple of years, the two were ready for another trip. This time the owner said that he was not going, which confused my dad. His boss told him, “You have been going to all these meetings with me, and I trust you; from now on, you can fly yourself and handle working with our customers.” So, that is how one of the best pilots in the country got involved in the ‘municipal clerk world.’
Dale is one of the best pilots in the country with more flight hours than most commercial and military pilots, and our family jokes that he is still alive! Flying is one of his true passions.
Dale went on to lead the sales department at Municode, growing the company to more than 4,000 local government customers while expanding nationwide over the years. I know that Municode’s team is appreciative of Dale Barstow for his accomplishments but for his preparation to ensure they will be even stronger after he retires.
He also gave back to your associations over the years. He has been a big part of the Municipal Clerk Education Foundation (MCEF) and helped raise nearly $3 million for Municipal Clerk education. He was even named an honorary Clerk by state clerks associations across the US.
He is also a FUN guy! During the entertainment evening at the annual IIMC conference, you would find him on the dance floor with all the Clerks who love to dance! He perfected his dance moves to entertain you. (Unfortunately, I did not inherit that ability.) By the age of 70, Dale gave out over 10,000 turtle pins from Municode, and asked many of you, “Are you a turtle?” If you’re asking what that means, it’s time for your initiation – give Dale a call!
Lastly, the majority of his good friends are clerks. They say the attendance at a funeral is a sure way of knowing who your true friends were in life. I am convinced that while it is a long way off, his municipal clerk friends would outnumber everyone in attendance!
Many of you have seen him yearly at a conference, or when he flew into your community just to see you personally. What was it like in a day of Dale’s life? He attended all state conferences, and every week he worked in a different state. He spent the past 50 years traveling more than 95% of his time each year. I witnessed his life first-hand, and this was our normal. It takes an extraordinary person to leave an impression on everyone he interacted with in his life, feeling loved and cared for. This is his greatest accomplishment. That is my dad, and I think he is special.
My entire life experience growing up was tagging along with my dad whenever possible. It was an incredible experience. To this day, Clerks still remember me as little Donny. I have a memento that is very dear to my heart.
The Municipal Clerk of Louisville (KY) was Dale’s friend, and she knew that I loved baseball. She thought there was a chance that I would be at a conference during my summer break and brought along a special memento. The stars aligned, and she found me there. She had a genuine Louisville Slugger with my name engraved on it, just for me. That was my first impression of a Municipal Clerk’s thoughtfulness and care. This was 34 years ago when I was six years old!
Fast forward to 2020 and I am the President & CEO of JustFOIA and MCCi. MCCi originated as a subsidiary of Municipal Code Corporation (Municode) 17 years ago, and we remain strong partners to this day. I would not be where I am at this point in my life and would not have the benefit of knowing so many of Municipal Clerks if it were not for my dad. He is my life-long mentor and friend, and I still cannot believe that he is retiring after 50 years of working with municipal clerks!
In closing, to the person who taught me how to be, how to fly, how to be a father, and most importantly, how to appreciate municipal clerks, you are the Michael Jordan of your industry and achieved so much success because you always put other’s interests first.
Join me in congratulating Dale on his achievements and retirement!
Please take the time to send him a note or give him a call before February 2021. And finally, I want to thank all of you who made his life and career so special.
Our entire family appreciates you and what you have meant to him for so many years.
President & CEO of JustFOIA and MCCi
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