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North Adams Committee Lays Out City Clerk Transition Plan

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council Ad Hoc City Clerk Committee will recommend appointing the Assistant Clerk Deborah Pedercini as the new city clerk.
 
The ad hoc committee met with City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau and Assistant City Clerk Deborah Pedercini Wednesday to go over the positions and a possible transition plan. The committee agreed to recommend promoting Pedercini and hiring a new assistant clerk.
 
"I think this is just that kind of position where you hire someone you are comfortable with knowing that they will move up…there are some positions that are just like that," Committee member Joshua Moran said. "I am perfectly comfortable going this route."
 
Gomeau, who plans to retire at the beginning of next year, has worked in the office for nearly 20 years and succeeded longtime City Clerk Mary Ann Abuisi, who retired in 2003.
 
Gomeau noted that according to the city charter the Council appoints the clerk and the clerk recommends an assistant to be appointed.
 
The committee first discussed if they wanted to post for the city clerk position or move up Pedercini and look for a new assistant clerk.
 
Gomeau said typically the assistant just moves up when a city clerk leaves and this is practiced in many other communities.
 
Gomeau added that she would recommend promoting Pedercini because she already knows the intricacies of the job.
 
"I just think we have to keep in mind that you have an assistant city clerk that is in the office who is learning and who is doing," Gomeau said.
 
"If you hire someone that has no knowledge whatsoever you are going to have a hard time…I think that makes more sense to go that route to advance the person that is already there."
 
Gomeau said Pedercini already has a few elections under her belt, has taken City Council minutes and currently is in charge of the council agendas.
 
The committee agreed and felt that if they opened the position up to anyone and the assistant clerk applied they would likely hire the assistant.
 
Gomeau rolled out her transition plan and recommended that they hire the new assistant clerk as a clerk to start in July. This would mean Gomeau and Pedercini would still be in the office and could assist and help the new clerk learn the ropes.
 
Gomeau said this would give the city the opportunity to see if the potential assistant clerk can handle the position and the clerk the opportunity to see if they actually like the job.
 
After this 60-day probation period and Gomeau’s retirement Pedercini would become the city clerk and the clerk would become the new assistant clerk.
 
Gomeau said not only would this process actually lower the City Clerk budget by nearly $4,500, but it would offer a smoother transition.
 
"When I leave I would like to think this place is going to continually run in a very smooth pattern and keep everything the way it should," she said.
 
"The biggest job of the city clerk is the clerk of the council …these are things that you need to keep in mind because these are the things that are going to keep you in check and everything moving."
 
Pedercini added that it would be a benefit to her to have time to train her replacement so when she becomes city clerk she does not have an assistant coming in cold. 
 
The committee was unsure if they wanted to post internally first or just post publicly but agreed they wanted to hire someone who was willing to stay in the position for the duration and eventually become a city clerk themselves. 
 
Gomeau also did offer to help with the transition after her retirement.  
 
"It was a hard decision, but it is time for someone else to take over," she said. "I really didn’t know I had the drive for this kind work and would like government, but I really do. I have been through two mayors and so many councilors and it has been challenging but it is in my blood."
 
The committee will bring their recommendations to the full council.
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