Layman's boss, Ahmed Diomande, the director of budget studies and the acting secretary of the Senate Finance Committee/Minority, said he has worked with Layman for the past four and a half years.
"Thirty-seven years is a lot of time, most definitely. If you have been able to spend that in one place I think that speaks a lot about the place itself and you yourself," Diomande said. "The reality is, you don't replace people like Karen."
Layman's tenure has spanned six governors and five Democratic leaders.
"Karen is the glue that sticks all of it together," Diomande said. "It's like a table, if you remove the supports, there is no table. That's how important she is."
Layman said when she retires she plans to spend more time with her family and get more actively involved in diabetes and cancer charities " after enjoying retirement a bit.
"You're kind of limited here to go on vacations," Layman said. "I got married in November because you can't really plan anything [from] January to June. For 10 days straight when a budget comes out, my family doesn't see me."
Mortimer Lawrence, Smith's chief of staff, said that Layman will be sorely missed.
"Not only is she smart in her area of expertise to the budget, she probably knows just as much as some of the seven budget directors that she's worked for," Lawrence said. "I can honestly say that I've had nothing but good things to say about her."
Diomande said he admired Layman's consistency and respect for her coworkers, and wants to create an award in her honor.
"I believe if we have something that I will start, this is my contribution," Diomande said. "Creating an award in her name to give it out to a staff person who I believe really emulates this kind of spirit. That's something I'm personally committed to doing."