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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Profile in Retirement Dan Murphy

  • Line work gets in a person’s blood, so it's hard for many linemen to slow down, shift gears, relax and retire. For that reason, Dan Murphy said he found a way to stay active in the line trade and that was through the Public Utilities Commission.
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  • Line work gets in a person’s blood, so it's hard for many linemen to slow down, shift gears, relax and retire. For that reason, Dan Murphy said he found a way to stay active in the line trade and that was through the Public Utilities Commission.
     
    In 1995, Dan was appointed to the commission to fill a one-year term. By the end of 2013, he had fulfilled his one-year appointment plus 18 more years including being the secretary. When age began to slow him down, he knew it was time to let it go.
     
    “I’m 89 years old and it was time to give it up,” Dan noted. “I didn’t feel like I was really doing my job anymore. “
     
    The Public Utilities Commission was formed to direct the water and light department and report to the City Council. The commission is involved in many important decisions of the daily operations of the water and light department that affect the residents of Sleepy Eye. One of their most important jobs, Murphy said, was to keep the rates low.
     
    “The commission tries to keep the rates low. I don’t know if the residents of Sleepy Eye realize that when the commission votes to increase rates, we as individuals also vote to spend more of our own money too,” Dan explained. “I enjoyed every bit of being on the commission; the ups and downs and I enjoyed working with the commissioners.”
     
    Dan began his career in electrical work as a lineman for REA and then eventually with the City of Sleepy Eye. He was an electrician for Beech Electric and went on to get a journeyman’s license to work on the road with a construction company until he retired when he was 63.
    After spending decades in the field, Murphy retired, but stayed active in the electrical trade by joining the commission.
     
    “I always spoke up when I wanted to and probably sometimes when I shouldn’t have. I’ve always been outspoken, but I also have a good sense of humor. If I’m going to dish it out I have to expect to get it back,” he added.
     
    While Murphy said he could be outspoken or opinionated, he doesn’t ever remember a time when the commission had an argument.
     
    “We’d hash it out sometimes, but when the meeting was over, so was the discussion,” Murphy added.
    Murphy said he has always like to stay busy, and stepping down from the commission hasn’t left an empty space of time to fill.
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    “My wife (Randeen) and I have talked it over,” Murphy said. “We don’t know how we ever had time to work if we are this busy in retirement. It took some time to get used to not going to meetings anymore, but I wasn’t talking to people and getting around like I used to so I figured it was time to go.”
     
    Murphy said that he has nothing but good praises to sing about the commissioners he worked with or the city light and water department employees.
     
    “I have nothing but good things to say about them all,” Murphy reflected. “That power plant was clean enough to eat off the floor. City employees sometimes get a bad rap, but when there is a storm and the power goes off what people don’t realize is that they are out there fixing the problem. We don’t have too many outages and that’s thanks to the lineman.”
     
    Another thing Murphy noted is that there is a lot more work to being on the commission than simply attending a meeting once a month.
     
    “You have to study a little bit and know a few things about power to be on the commission,” Murphy said. “Being on the commission involves going to different workshops or seminars, being at special meetings and keeping on top of energy and power and utilities. You have to look at the money side, the employees side and you have to look ahead far enough when you make decisions.” 
     
    To celebrate Murphy’s years on the commission, the public is invited to a coffee with Dan Murphy at the Sleepy Eye Community Center on Tuesday, July 29, 9-11 a.m.
     

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