A dozen or so years ago I wrote a series of annual columns in Madison Magazine taking a just slightly tongue-in-cheek look at who really wielded power in this city. Each year Wanda Fullmore came in as the second most powerful person in Madison, until she was finally retired to the Madison Power Hall of Fame.

This week Wanda retires for real. And the whole most powerful person thing was a lot less tongue in cheek than some might think.

Wanda Fullmore has been the office clerk in the Mayor’s office for 39 years. That’s five mayors, including Paul Soglin three times of course. It is also countless mayoral assistants, department heads, city staff, reporters and citizens for whom Wanda was gatekeeper, ready reference, air traffic controller and more times than even she knows a warm smile, a human touch and a respectful, courteous professional.

It’s hard to estimate the value of what Wanda Fullmore has given to this city, her city, for nearly 40 years. She is irreplaceable, which says something.

She is beloved, which says more. And she is in the truest sense of the word, the face of Madison. Madison could not ask for better.