Marlene Brown is a Retiree on the Move


Meet Marlene Brown 

By Beverly J. Clark, Publicity Director

Marlene Brown

Marlene retired in August 2016 after 35 years of City service. Marlene’s positions with the City were as a part-time Program Assistant with Community Development; Clerk Typist with Animal Regulations; and Clerk Typist and Sr. Clerk Typist with Sanitation and Airports. She retired from LACERS as a Sr. Clerk Typist and Benefits Specialist with LACERS.

“I moved to California at age 18,” Marlene says. “My mom and brother also live here in California. We relocated from Massachusetts. The weather in Massachusetts got down to 30 degrees below zero. I would often say that the weather was not fit for man or beast. I have two dogs, Bailey and Baxter, who I affectionately call my sons. Bailey and Baxter are both rescue dogs. Shelters offer a variety of pets, all needing loving homes. Consider adopting rather than purchasing an animal, and save a life!

“My hobbies include gardening: cultivating fruits and vegetables; and emergency preparedness food for sustainability.

“In retirement, I keep busy by running a dog-sitting business and assisting my retired neighbors to join the business as well. I also have a part-time job as a Program Instructor.

“My travels have taken me to Canada, England, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

“Since retirement, I have become involved with LACERS Well, and as an RLACEI member I attend many of the RLACEI functions. I feel that it keeps me connected to my City of Los Angeles family.

“I am a member of Cottonwood Church and have volunteered for 33 years as a Children’s Church Worker.”

Community Involvement

“I work at a nonprofit in Santa Clarita where I reside. I have worked there for six years working as a Program Instructor teaching life skills to adults with disabilities. It is an opportunity to give back. The position is very rewarding as I feel I do make a positive difference in the clients’ lives. Some of my activities as a Program Instructor are as follows: teaching a Skills to Pay the Bills class; teaching an online class, Touring the World; teaching an Art for Beginners class, which is considered a soft employment skills class (listening and following instructions). I have participated in taking students to Ventura to tour a bee farm, a fish hatchery, and the Fillmore Museum. We have taken the train to Olvera Street to tour the Chinese museum, the Fire Fighter Museum and tour the shops. We have toured Chinatown and Little Tokyo. We also took the train to Ikea in Burbank. Students learn money and shopping skills, typing, laundry, mobility, cooking and self-determination, etc.

“An important point to note regarding my part-time position: I did not pay into Social Security because I worked for the City of Los Angeles. As a teenager I paid four years into Social Security. Now, my position as a part-time Program Instructor has qualified me to receive Social Security benefits as I now have my 40 quarters. I will not have to pay the medical subsidy aside from the IRMAA (Income Related Adjustment Amount). I advise Retirees to check with Social Security for additional information.”

Words of Wisdom for Retirees or Those About to Retire

“Be sure you retire to something. Have a hobby, part-time work, etc. in place as the honeymoon period of retirement gets old really fast. Believe it or not, you will get tired of traveling. You must keep busy! The wall of retirement will hit you like a brick wall and it will be unexpected, as retirement is not associated with emptiness. It is a place that you have not been in life because you have been busy working. It is at this point you must find purpose in life. If you don’t, you will not thrive. I speak from a vantage point of experience.”

The Smartest Thing You Did to Prepare for Retirement

“One of the smartest things I did is that I took the advice of the manager who hired me and retired when I was eligible. A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of the deductions such as LACERS retirement contributions go away after you retire. I did not need to have 40 years of service to retire comfortably!”

What Do You Miss About Your Service to the City? 

“I don’t miss working because I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. and had quite a commute. I vanpooled and spent a minimum of two hours a day commuting. I am now living more on my terms. I get up at 6 a.m.; my workday begins at 8 a.m.; and my workday ends at 2 p.m. I work locally with relatively no commute, and I take naps in the daytime!”

Reflecting on Your City Career

“I would not have done anything differently. I am thankful to have worked for the City of Los Angeles.”

How Do You Fill Your Days? 

“I initially provided dog sitting services free of charge for many years. My love for animals is what launched me into my dog-sitting business. You must have a love for animals to do this type of work. I have a thriving dog -sitting business with many high-end clienteles. I refer some clients to others in the dog business at times. I have to walk the dogs daily, so they keep me moving and have aided in my mobility. A treadmill is no match for a dog because a dog must be walked! Exercise must be a part of our lives and we need to find whatever is suitable for us.”

Would You Change Anything About Retired Life?

“I am very happy in retirement, and as I have stated I am doing life more on my terms now!”