Meet your government
Every Monday, The Times takes a look at someone who keeps local government running smoothly.
Melody Marlowe is a self-titled office supply "freak."
As Gainesville’s chief financial officer, she’s in the right business to feed her fetish.
"(I like) anything where I can have, like, little squares to write numbers in," Marlowe said.
Her job isn’t easy. The official numbers — Gainesville’s budget — she writes in those little squares seem to be getting smaller all the time.
Marlowe already has whittled 5 percent from each department’s budget to make up for a shortfall of $1.5 million in revenues.
On Friday, Marlowe started meeting with department heads in what may prove to be one of the toughest budgeting seasons in the city’s recent history.
Despite her big stick and bold title, Marlowe is surprisingly soft-spoken and family centered.
The 13-year Gainesville official lives on what her family calls a "compound," a 25-acre farm where she and her family share a slew of farm animals in Clermont.
"It’s a good way to live," she said. "(They) help you raise your kids, help you out when you’re on crutches."
Public service, too, is a family business. Marlowe’s brother, Marty Nix, is the director of Hall County’s 911 center, and her sister is a local teacher.
Gainesville’s budget looks to be a doozy this year, but Marlowe has plenty to look forward to personally.
She and her husband will celebrate 25 years together this year. Also this year, both her parents and the in-laws she calls "the best in the world" will celebrate their 50th year of marriage.