Twila Rutter-Wooley, the Curry County grant writer and grant administrator, talks with Curry County Manager Geneva Cooper during a meeting Wednesday at the Curry County courthouse. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ staff writer
Twila Rutter-Wooley is a Clovis native who once left the community to become a stockbroker. She spent three years in Denver and three more in Japan, where she also taught English to Japanese stockbrokers.
For the last 10 years, she’s been a Curry County employee and plans to make a career of what she calls the best job in the county.
“I came back to America and had the luxury of going to several American big cities, but I didn’t feel safe,” Rutter-Wooley said. “I had to come back to Clovis for a wedding and was awestruck and said, ‘I want to live here again.’”
As the county’s grant writer and grant administrator, Rutter-Wooley handles everything from a $5,000 private grant by the March of Dimes to major federal block grants for road work that can run into the millions of dollars.
Nearly three-fourths of her $40,243 compensation comes from grants. Unlike her prior job as a commission-sales stockbroker, she said she isn’t paid any extra money based on how many grants she helps the county obtain.
That’s OK with her.
“Helping people at the local level and dealing with people where the rubber hits the road is important,” Rutter-Wooley said.
While she wrote or administered 19 different grants during the 2003 calendar year, Rutter-Wooley said much of her time is taken up by a state grant to conduct substance abuse screening for people convicted of drunken driving.
That grant pays 46.3 percent of her salary, Rutter-Wooley said. Unlike many other grants in which she simply makes sure paperwork is completed properly, the DWI grant requires her to have hands-on contact with people ranging from convicted DWI offenders to fourth-grade elementary students for whom she conducts special classes on avoiding drugs and alcohol.
In addition to screening convicted drivers for alcohol or drug abuse and referring them for treatment, she administers the community service program for DWI offenders.
“I have them at my mercy,” Rutter-Wooley joked. “We do beautification projects about once a month and I think it gives them a better sense of community to be giving something back.”