Longtime state worker from Clifton Park honored

Senators, governors, administrators and staff have all come and gone, but for 37 years, Karen Layman has been at her desk.

Layman, 54, of Clifton Park, is retiring at the end of the year from the state Senate Finance Committee/Minority in Albany. She started in 1970 as a stenographer and is now an administrative assistant to budget and fiscal staff.

It is the only job she has ever had.

Layman was recently honored by state Senator and Democratic leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, with a proclamation at the Senate Democratic Conference.

Karen set a standard that will be difficult to match, Smith said in the press release announcing the proclamation. "But each and every one of us should at the very least try to emulate her work and attitude."

Layman was told 15 minutes prior to the proclamation that someone else was about to receive an award in the conference room, but she said she knew something was going on when she saw friends and family there instead.

"Senator Smith, he just had the biggest grin on his face," Layman said. "I cannot remember a word of what I said, but my husband said I was very gracious."

Layman has lived in Clifton Park with her husband, Bob, since 1976. Born in Watervliet, she attended Catholic Central High School in Troy.

After high school, she applied for a job in the state stenographer pool, but was turned down and later found a job in the Senate Finance Committee/Minority.

"When I started right out of high school it was kind of intimidating. I just did my work," Layman said. "It's like this is my home because I have spent so much time here; you get to know everybody. It is going to be very hard to leave, but yet I want to leave while I'm on top while I can still walk out."

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