Pandemic Perspectives: Oh Goodness! What a Year We Had!

Melinda "Min" Marshall Kennett, Northumberland Town Clerk/Tax Collector

The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.

pandemic perspectives

Oh goodness,, what a year we have had!

Our office in Northumberland went by guidance from our Emergency Services Director, Aaron Gibson during COVID. We closed the building in March and I waited on customers in the parking lot outside of my door until July. I lost 50 pounds from running all day! We opened in July by appointment only and offered drop box, mail, and online payments.

We had 4 elections in 2020. Our biggest challenge was safety. We worked very hard to maintain cleanliness and followed guidelines with no issue. We paid the election crew a bit more as a stipend, but certainly not enough. We, as town clerks, were essential workers this whole time and never recognized as such nor did we receive any sort of stipend or hazard pay. Our jobs became a lot harder and longer hours were worked for the same pay. That says something about our dedication! My office has become much safer as a result. People are not required to have an appointment any longer, but some prefer it, so we will keep doing it until no one wants to anymore. I saw many town clerks or deputies retire during the pandemic due to the overwhelming nature of it all. I wish the government would have issued stipends to town clerks and not left it up to the Selectboards to apply or decide. I know that it was deserved so much!! We got it done under the worst circum-stances!

I feel that another year will be much better, but for now, we are keeping on with what we need to do! I am training a new deputy as we speak. Mine retired. The pandemic and all that went with it got the best of my 20 year deputy and she retired as of June 1. I am so excited for her not to have to deal with this anymore. I am exhausted myself!

Melinda "Min" Marshall Kennett, Northumberland Town Clerk/Tax Collector