The Advocate Asks: with Town Clerk Trudy Reid
For this week’s “The Advocate Asks,” we interviewed Town Clerk Trudy Reid. Since becoming the town clerk in 2014, Reid said, one of her most memorable moments was the recount following the 2015 town election.
Q: How did you get involved working in municipal government?
A: When I first moved to Wenham in 1993 and attended my first Town Meeting, I was asked if I would be interested in working at the elections. I began shortly thereafter and also worked for six years as the Council on Aging director and then became the Wenham town clerk in 2010 when the incumbent retired.
Q: How long have you been working for the town of Lynnfield?
A: I was hired in March of 2014.
Q: What are some of your major job responsibilities?
A: I am the chief election officer for the Town of Lynnfield, overseeing every aspect of elections from scheduling the staff to certifying the results in the state’s Voter Registration System. My office is also responsible for managing the postings for meeting notices per the Massachusetts General Laws. I am also the chief public records officer for the Town of Lynnfield. On a day-to-day basis, I may work with residents on tasks ranging from dog licensing to voter registration to public records requests to issuing marriage licenses. Throughout the year, I will also certify nomination and petition papers. The duties of the town clerk are extensive and continue to change with state and local mandates, especially as legal requirements for processes and recordkeeping become more complex. I also oversee the assistant town clerk.
Q: How has your position changed over the years?
A: The increasing state regulations and recordkeeping requirements have required clerks to become more aware of the changing laws, election regulations and what seems to be ever increasing recordkeeping regulations. Also, new efforts to expand voter access, like Early Voting, has changed how the Clerk’s Office must operate to handle these new options while maintaining election integrity and keeping things running smoothly.
Q: How has Lynnfield changed?
A: Since I’ve only been with Lynnfield since 2014, I may not notice all of the changes longtime residents may see, but even since I’ve been here we have had to address new options for voting, and we are now reviewing using electronic voting at Town Meetings. As we all see in our personal lives, the world of technology is constantly changing, so each year will bring new opportunities for Lynnfield to review to improve voting options, as well as a variety of online information options. We’ve recently updated our town website, which I was able to help to design, and I brought online dog registration as well as online payments for vital records, all positive changes.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
A: Elections. I am a firm believer that we all have the wonderful right to vote and directly affect our lives at local, state and national levels. I’m also a rule follower, and there are processes for just about everything relating to elections, so I really like to manage the overall election process to make voting an easy task for all involved. I also enjoy meeting people and being able to assist them with anything from obtaining vital records to directing them to public works for recycling barrels. To me, municipal jobs are customer service driven, and helping those who come into your office is key. If you don’t enjoy working with people and assisting them, working in a municipality may not be the place to be. Working for Lynnfield is working for the residents who in turn, pay my salary with their taxes. All in all, I love coming to my job every day.
Q: Are there any memorable moments or events that stand out during your time as town clerk?
A: My campaign to get elected and winning as town clerk in Wenham will always be a memorable moment. The prior clerk had retired, and although I had worked beside her for many years on the election floor and Town Meetings, since it is an elected position I had to run a campaign and convince the residents that I was the one they should choose – not just convince one hiring manager. I would say my close second would be the election recount for Lynnfield in 2015. As the new town clerk for Lynnfield, and it being my first recount, it was at the same time a great learning opportunity and also a stressful situation. I had to learn a lot about due process while at the same time managing through the personal energies of the situation. In the end it all worked out, and I believe all involved learned a lot about elections.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A: Spending time with my family, especially my husband, during the summer months. We have a boat and being out on the water, or just sitting at the dock hanging out with friends and enjoying the fresh air. I also enjoy reading, when I have the time, paper or electronic, as technology has made its way there, too.