For the past 19 years visitors to the Madison town offices and Department of Motor Vehicles have been greeted by Barbara Roach. Roach, who has been the face of the Town of Madison and the Madison DMV for nearly 20 years is retiring at the end of January 2020. Roach’s successor, Cassie Goodwin officially takes the reins Feb. 1, 2020.
Roach has been the face of the Town of Madison for nearly two decades, collecting meals tax, issuing business licenses and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the town. The Greene County native has organized the town’s affairs since her hiring in 2000. Roach came to apply for the job after talking with council woman Nancy Knighting and was initially passed over for it.
“I had gone to Plow and Hearth, looking for a job,” said Roach. “I ran into Nancy Knighting and she talked me into applying for the clerk’s position. I interviewed for the job, but they turned me down. One month later, they called and asked me to come in.”
While Roach’s predecessor didn’t last very long, Roach was determined to make the job work and recalled in the beginning she would take work home and would sometimes be sorting and figuring until the wee hours of the morning.
During her tenure as town clerk, Roach has seen the consistency and stability of the town. Roach acknowledged that although the town hasn’t changed significantly there have been improvements like the sidewalks and the growth and expansion of the DMV office. Roach has been overseeing vehicle decals, business licensing and the collection of meals tax for nearly two decades and has gotten to know both the residents and the members of the town council and planning commission.
“Madison is kind of like Mayberry,” said Roach. “The town is pretty much unchanged. We’ve had some improvements, but the town mostly stays the same and that’s part of its charm. Everybody knows everyone and over the years I have gotten to know everyone here. The town is like my family so leaving is bittersweet.”
Roach said the biggest change over the span of her employment has been in the DMV office. Since 2000, the DMV has been a service to the citizens and a great source of revenue for Madison. Roach originally manned the DMV office with the help of a single part-time employee. Now, the DMV has three full-time employees and a steady stream of customers.
“Our little DMV office is really popular,” she said. “Every week someone comes in to thank us. Like any DMV we have lines, but we always acknowledge the customers. Just letting them know that you know they’re waiting, letting them know you’re paying attention makes the wait a little easier.”
Roach said the hardest part of the job has been accurately taking minutes for the town council and planning commission.
“Taking the minutes and accurately recording what went on at each meeting has been the hardest part of the job,” said Roach. “Getting the thoughts and meaning amongst the casual conversation can be hard.”
Roach has been training her replacement, Cassie Goodwin for the past six months. Goodwin, also a Greene County native will be taking the reins on Feb. 1. Goodwin comes to the position after working at the University of Virginia for 23 years. Goodwin was looking for a position closer to her Greene County home and after trying a stint at the Greene County Treasurer’s Office applied at the Town of Madison.
Goodwin acknowledges that she has some big shoes to fill as Roach’s popularity and efficiency is legendary.
“Barbara knows almost everyone who comes in both the DMV and town office,” said Goodwin. “She knows everyone, their kids, parents and the car they drive. She always goes above and beyond. For me, this job was appealing because it was a challenge. I like to learn new things and I really enjoy working with people. Barbara is making the transition easier too by staying until the decals are out and bpols [business and professional licenses] are done for 2020.”
Roach is looking forward to being able to spend more time with her family, especially her three great-grandchildren.
“I still want to work, but the most important job will be spending time with my great grandchildren,” she said.