Longtime Wallingford clerk and treasurer stepping down
By Darren Marcy
Staff Writer | September 27,2013
Darren Marcy / Staff Photo
Joyce Barbieri will retire Monday after 30 years as Wallingford town clerk and treasurer.
WALLINGFORD — Joyce Barbieri, longtime Wallingford town clerk and treasurer, is retiring, setting off a miniature game of musical chairs in town.
For 30 years, Barbieri has been the face of Wallingford Town Hall.
Saturday, Barbieri turns 65 years old and Monday will be her last day on the job.
“I’m turning 65 and I’ve been here 30 years,” Barbieri said. “I’m tired. It’s time to pass the torch.”
Her retirement is prompting a couple of other changes in Wallingford involving familiar faces.
Julie Sharon takes over as town clerk and treasurer. She has been the assistant clerk and treasurer, as well as part-time town administrator.
The Select Board officially appointed Sharon on Monday to fill the remainder of Barbieri’s term until March, when she will seek election to the position.
In preparation for that change, the town has also hired Sandi Switzer of Rutland Town to serve as town administrator.
Barbieri’s departure will be the end of an era at the Town Hall.
She said she is most proud of controlling spending and requiring that budgets be adhered to.
“My proudest feat is holding the line on the budget,” Barbieri said. “We have to stay within the budget. We have to find ways to save.”
How did she ensure compliance?
“By screaming,” Barbieri said with a laugh.
She’s also happy she was able to help launch the idea of a cell tower in the town hall building. The lease payments have resulted in extra funds for the town.
“Because of that the building is handicapped accessible and energy efficient,” Barbieri said. “We are now putting money into the town garage.”
Barbieri said she had long planned to retire when she hit 65 and knew when she ran for this term it would be her last.
As part of that, her plan was to get Sharon ready to assume the position.
“Julie has been my assistant for 12 years so she’s well trained,” Barbieri said. “That was my goal. I knew this would be my last term. All the pieces fell together.”
Barbieri said she really has no plans other than to rest, clean her house and continue working on her historical society duties.
She is the president of the Wallingford Historical Society and she jokes that she’ll still have a key to the Town Hall because the society has space upstairs from the town clerk’s office.
“I’ll come in the back door and they won’t know I’m here,” she said, again laughing.
She admits she’ll miss the people and helping folks with their questions and problems. She said she’s watched people who were kids when she started in the position grow up and have kids of their own.
She expects people will continue to call her.
“They have my home number,” she said. “They always have. I got real close to a lot of them.”
Her public service work also extended to Montpelier.
Barbieri said she was a state representative during the civil union debate and voted to support civil unions.
“That was exciting,” she said. “That’s how I lost my seat too. It was well worth it.”
Sharon will take over an office that she says runs well and she won’t change a thing.
Even Barbieri will still be in the office, at least one day a week.
Sharon said that, after taking a vacation, Barbieri will continue to work Mondays through March and will run the election, which Sharon can’t be part of because she’s running for election.
But she said she will miss having Barbieri around every day.
“I’m going to miss her,” Sharon said. “She’s been a great boss. She’s groomed me for the position and she’s taught me a lot.”
Sharon said she’s also thankful to the Select Board.
“I appreciate the confidence the board has given me,” she said.
Switzer has been a fixture in Wallingford for her attendance at Select Board meetings and town meetings.
She has been a correspondent for the Rutland Herald, covering Wallingford for more than 20 years.
“I’ve been going to Select Board meetings and town events for more than two decades,” Switzer said. “I’ve been to every Wallingford town meeting for more than 20 years.”
She began as the town administrator Sept. 16.
“I was very familiar with the people in town and many of the town officials were familiar with me,” Switzer said. “I’m really enjoying the work.”
She said the transition from one side of the meeting to the other has gone well.
“Joyce and Julie have been very supportive and helpful during the transition,” Switzer said. “I’m amazed at how much Julie did in this position. She was really good at her job. The Select Board was lucky to have her for so many years and I’m sure she’ll do a good job in her new role as well.”
Switzer said Barbieri will leave big shoes to fill.
“I wish Joyce the best of luck in her retirement,” Switzer said. “She’s been an amazing person for this town in all aspects. Everything she’s done for the town has been fantastic and she’s certainly going to be missed.”