Priscilla Aldrich Honored as Vermont's Top Clerk
announced September 22, 2009
Priscilla Aldrich, Burke's town clerk, has been named the Vermont Town Clerk of the Year by the Vermont Municipal Clerks and Treasurers' Association. This is the second time Aldrich has been recognized by this group for her outstanding efforts - a few years ago, the same group of her peers honored her as Treasurer of the Year.
The following story was run in the Caledonia Record and was reprinted in the Burke Town Annual Report 2008 with their permission:
Aldrich Honored As VT's Top Clerk
BY AMY ASH NlXON
BURKE - When Priscilla Aldrich was honored by the Vermont Clerks and Treasurers' Association at the Plaza Hotel in Montpelier Monday night she said she was overwhelmed and returned to her seat with tears in her eyes.
A few years ago, Aldrich, town clerk for 14 years next month, was honored as Treasurer of the Year by the same group of her peers - but to be voted as the group's Town Clerk of the Year Monday was a deep honor, she said Wednesday morning.
Back at work on Wednesday, she was greeted with a gift basket from the Burke school board. complete with locally-made products. and lots of well wishes from co-workers as well as from selectmen and town residents.
She was out for a walk early Wednesday morning with friend Linda Britt and was walking by the town offices when a friend hollered to Aldrich, "Hey, congratulations."
Aldrich, 60, said part of the reason for her success is the support of the Burke Board of Selectmen, chaired by Sam Sanderson, who serves along side Emery Noyes and Michael Harris. Aldrich said she has served as town clerk and treasurer with the same three selectmen her entire tenure with the town, which makes a real difference.
Sanderson and his wife, Weeza, traveled to Montpelier to surprise Aldrich moments after she was presented with her state-wide award, a surprise that meant a great deal to her. Wednesday morning, Aldrich's daughter, Vermont State Police trooper Teresa Randall, was at town hall to visit with and congratulate her mom."We are excited. We are just very happy for her and we are very proud of her," she said.
The award was presented by John Cushing, president of the association and the town clerk and treasurer in the town of Milton for nearly 40 years, Aldrich said. She said to be selected
by her town clerk and treasurer peers from across Vermont means the world to her.
"This one here is my award," she said, showing her inscribed plaque. 'To be awarded this by this organization is a real, real honor. It brought tears to my eyes."
Aldrich said she was introduced to the idea of being a town clerk when she walked into town hall one day about 14 years ago. The town clerk at the time was resigning and Aldrich asked him if they had found a replacement. He asked her if she wanted to do it, and she said no, that she was already working elsewhere.
Her father and her husband pushed her closer to the idea when Aldrich's name began circulating and she got a phone call from Sam Sanderson asking her to consider it.
In the nomination for Aldrich's award, left anonymous as the nomination is considered by the town clerks state-wide, it stated, "This nominee has been the town clerk of her town for 14 years. She came into an office that had been neglected, and ... took over and put it back together again. She was uprooted from the building that housed the clerk's office in late fall (her first year), made the move and was still able to get a town report out for town meeting. In speaking to one of the selectmen, he described her work as not being a good job, but a great job."
In the nomination letter, Aldrich is described as having a heart for the job and the people of her community. Aldrich, as a voting member of the association, had seen the anonymous letter but had no idea that the kind words referred to her - and were written by, she found out Monday, the assistant town clerk in Milton, Paulette M. LaFond.
There are eight criteria for the award, including a minimum five years of service to a community in Vermont; being a certified clerk; and a requirement that the "nominee must demonstrate a socially responsible approach toward their community and promote the cause of good local government."
With nearly 275 voting members in the Vermont Municipal Clerks and Treasurers' Association selecting her, confidence among her peers is something Aldrich has secured. One of the first words Sanderson used to describe Aldrich Tuesday was "innovative." Aldrich's co-workers, including assistant treasurer Cathi Feeley, said she is "the original self made woman."
"What she knows bout being town clerk she has taught herself," Feeley said. She said Aldrich's aptitude on computers and interest in availing herself to training to help her in her job are admirable.
"She teaches us a lot of things," Feeley said. "We hope she'll stay."
Married 42 years to Gilbert, the couple has one other daughter, Tammy Bandy. They are
proud grandparents to five grandchildren. Aldrich grew up in Sutton, but said Burke will
always be her town.
Assistant Town Clerk Linda Corey said, "I think she deserves the award because she's a very patient and smart lady. She's taught me a lot since I've worked here. Teasing Aldrich, sitting to her right, Corey Added, "We'll have to see now what it is like to work with a celebrity"
Article reprinted with permission from the Caledonian-Record, Mark Smith, Publisher