Slider’s retirement leaves big shoes to fill


When I think of those who serve our community, I often first think of my own staff. I am extremely proud of the individuals who work in my office and fight every day for the justice of Delaware County. I also think of how consistently my staff members support and uplift each other. The work our office does can sometimes be grueling and exhausting, but I see my staff holding one another up every single day. Regardless of what each of them have going on in their lives, they show up for each other in all of the important ways!

I recently told my staff how proud I am of them and how they are each a blessing to this office and our community as a whole. I commended all of them for “choosing to be happy” no matter how tough the work can be or what they might be experiencing personally. I couldn’t be more honored to lead this group of determined fighters — who just also happen to be pretty amazing human beings.

One of these phenomenal people is Laura Slider. We recently bid farewell to Laura after an amazing 20 years of service to our office. While we are excited for Laura and all of the wonderful plans she has for her retirement, we will miss her tremendously. Laura and her husband (a local chaplain) have dedicated their lives to serving others, and Delaware County is a better place for having their influence here.

Laura has seen quite a bit of change over the past 20 years. When she began in our office, we had an index card filing system! Since then, she got to experience our move to a county-built access system and, most recently, to a completely digital filing system. Laura told me that 20 years ago, she could never have imagined a paperless office. She was also here for three elected and two interim prosecutors. Laura’s official title was file clerk. She used to have a sign at her desk that said “no one realizes what I do until I am gone” or something to that effect. And — as bad as it may sound — she is right! If you needed anything found in the office, Laura could find it. She also made sure that any piece of paper that came into our office was put in the correct place. I can’t stress what an important job Laura had and the role she fulfilled in our office, it was more than her title or any job description could explain. And she never complained!

Laura’s gentle demeanor, quick humor, attention detail, and servant heart are more accurate descriptions of her role in our office. She was our office mom and confidant, and our CEO of prayers. It truly is an honor to be the subject of her prayers. Laura used her influence to bring peace and caring for her peers during times when life or work was chaotic.

I’ve been fortunate to work with someone like Laura for the last five years. I don’t know how to adequately explain it, but I’ll try. As leaders, we want our team to function well, to get along, and to pursue the higher purpose our office exists to serve for our community. If we can all do that together on a daily basis, I consider it a win. But, as a leader, I also know that some of my team could leave at any moment for a better opportunity, and I’m okay with that because I want what is best for them individually. I also know as a leader though that when some of those people leave, my team, the office, and I will never be the same because the employee who left also took their servant heart with them. That’s how I feel about Laura.

Everyone who works in the prosecutor’s office is a servant at heart, but someone who devotes 20 years to one public office like Laura did is a blessing that as leaders we encounter rarely, but know we are blessed when we do.

Laura hasn’t slowed down since she “retired.” She traveled to visit her daughter, continues to volunteer to foster dogs for the humane society, and so much more. While I miss her dearly, I am excited for this next chapter in her life.

“For I know the plans I have for you (Laura)…plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Melissa A. Schiffel is the Delaware County prosecutor.

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