On Monday morning, Ed Kinnamon got up thinking, “By gosh, this is it, my last day,” and he was coping with mixed feelings. On Monday evening, he would sit at his last council meeting, and he would have signed the last city checks.
That was his job as the city’s clerk and treasurer. If you worked for the city, he signed your check. If you had a contract with the city, he signed your check. He funneled all the money coming in and he oversaw all the money going out to council-approved projects. He wrote the financial reports council members depended on.
He did it all well. The approval and affection of the Mayor and City Council Commissioners were made obvious with accolades and jokes. Consider that Ed Kinnamon’s 32 years of service to Cambridge goes well beyond his time as finance officer.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Ed began to know his neighbors in the professional capacity of “Banner Boy,” delivering this newspaper for two years. He also helped his parents in their shoe store, and some remember him as a little ambassador for Cambridge. He went to college to be an accountant and after a short stint as an accountant in an office, Ed decided he wanted something more interesting.
Becoming a Cambridge police officer, he served seven years. It had more excitement for sure. In what he calls “a scuffle” in the 70s, he was struck in the head. Another officer had to fire a shot in the air to disperse the crowd and rescue Ed. “After going to the hospital for stitches, they wanted me to go home but I went right back. I was there.” So were out-of-town sheriff’s officers and others.
A photograph in Ed’s office shows a young patrolman on a motorcycle, and motorcycles have been his transportation, hobby, love. He and his wife made some long trips — to Milwaukee, to St. Louis, to West Virginia. “First time I rode a big bike one Sunday, I pulled off the road and I smelled the flowers. Smelled the flowers. Stopped at a red light near a restaurant and smelled the bacon. Flew to Montana and rented a bike there. Went up a narrow road lined with spruce trees and smelled the fresh, cool, crisp air, like Christmas. You don’t get that in a car.”
He also enjoyed the excitement of riding on the Michigan Raceway, courtesy of the State Police there. Ed says he’s active in the Blue Knights, the organization of police officers on motorcycles. He just as easily could join the Red Knights, the fireman’s counterpart group. Kinnamon was a volunteer fireman in Cambridge for 25 years.
At a point where he was looking for career advancement, he read an article in The Banner that talked about an opening in city government for clerk/treasurer. He heard the comment, “You can’t give that job away.” He applied and the city made its smartest hire.
When he began the job, times were still good. The city had boatowners lining up for slips that didn’t exist and enlarging the marina seemed a solution. The nationwide slump that dried up the housing market beginning in 2006 also dried up the marina. “In 08-09, it looked like maybe we would have to borrow funds to meet payroll, we had a basin of empty slips.” But as he empties the desk drawers, he feels satisfaction that he’s leaving a city in much better shape, and in good hands. Like many retirees, he will be spending more time with his family. Is he dreaming about travel? Paris? Las Vegas?
His reply is, he is looking forward to finding the secret to better health and being able to get back on a motorcycle.
Ed Kinnamon did not get the Cambridge ring that has been historically given to retiring department heads. Somehow, I am certain that if it were up to the Mayor and many public-spirited citizens, he would be leaving with rings for every finger and toe, and a laurel wreath on his head.