What's the Difference?

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election day LYNDON- Residents in New Hampshire and Vermont hit the polls on Town Meeting Day, but not all elections are the same across the states. In the Town of Monroe, New Hampshire, the town held an election for selecting a town clerk. 

Incumbent Marilyn Bedell ran against another candidate, and residents voted for who they thought would be best fit for the position.

Further south, the town of Haverhill’s only serving town manager, Glenn English retired at the end of February, leaving the spot open.

Haverhill residents did not vote for a new town manager. For now, finance officer Jo Lacaillade is the interim town manager, as they search for a new candidate to fill the open seat.

“Primex is our insurance company and one of the services they provide to their members is a town manager search that they pay for and put on,” said Lacaillade. “Primex has come in and met with our board three times and they’re starting that process now.”

Haverhill uses an insurance company to create an advertisement, which was published online and in local newspapers last week. The town has a population of just under 5,000 residents, while Monroe has under 1,000. 

Back in Vermont, the town of Barnet holds an election for the town clerk position, as just under 2,000 people reside there.  

That’s not the only difference within town government, as some towns may have a manager and a clerk, or one or the other.

Benjamin Heisholt is the Town Clerk of Barnet. Heisholt shared why he thinks there is no town manager as well in Barnet.

“I think it is generally adopted by towns in larger population than Barnet.”

Also in Vermont, Saint Johnsbury has both positions. Chad Whitehead was hired earlier this year after the select board went through applications, such as Haverhill. Stacey Jewell serve as the town manager. 

Back in the Granite State, Bedell is the Town Clerk in Monroe, and serves alone, as there is no town manager. However in Haverhill, Christina Herbert serves as the Town Clerk, as the town has a clerk as well.

So what’s the difference? 

According to the Vermont league of Cities and Towns, a town manager is responsible for managing the town departments, as well as the town budgets and staff. This includes police departments, planning and zoning committees, and parks and recreation.

The town clerk on the other hand plays an essential road in communicating with the public. Some of their responsibilities include posting town notices, running local elections, selling fish, game, and marriage licenses, as well as documenting minutes of select board meetings. 

Population does impact whether a town has both a manager and clerk, as larger towns tend to have both, while smaller towns tend to only have a clerk.