Springfield town clerk to step down
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | December 04,2013
Photo by Len Emery
SPRINGFIELD — Meredith Dexter Kelley, the town clerk and treasurer, has resigned effective two days before Christmas.
Kelley, who has been town clerk for 5½ years, gave no reason for her resignation, which the Springfield Select Board, meeting late Tuesday afternoon in emergency session, accepted with regret.
Kelley didn’t attend the meeting and couldn’t be reached afterward.
Kelley, a Springfield native and a lawyer, was appointed by the Select Board in 2008 to succeed former longtime town clerk Bonnie Greer Reynolds.
She said in her letter that she was proud of her work and thanked Town Manager Robert Forguites and Board Chairman Kristi Morris.
“I thank you for the guidance and support that you have provided to me during my term as clerk and treasurer,” she wrote in her letter of resignation. “I wish you all the best as you continue to lead the town.”
Kelley added, “I leave feeling satisfied that I have made improvements both in the town clerk’s office as well as in my roles as treasurer and delinquent tax collector. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the town in this capacity and honored to have served its residents for five-and-a-half years.”
After accepting her resignation, with all board members appearing disappointed with her departure, the board met behind closed doors and later voted to appoint Assistant Town Clerk Barbara Courchesne interim town clerk and treasurer. The post also includes the job of delinquent tax collector.
Under the Town Charter, the Select Board appoints the town clerk, and the appointment is ratified at the next town meeting. Courchesne, who has worked for the town clerk’s office for six years, will be up for ratification in March.
Kelley, who submitted her letter of resignation the day before Thanksgiving and gave the required four weeks notice, said her last working day will be Dec. 23.
“I will ensure that all my current projects are completed and aid in the transition if asked to do so,” she wrote.
Kelley has two assistant town clerks, Courchesne and Mary Perkins.
Kelley was paid $65,000 as town clerk and treasurer after five years on the job; the starting salary will be $53,500, Forguites said.
Forguites left the meeting to call Courchesne to inform her of the board’s decision. He said Courchesne was aware of Kelley’s decision and was interested in the job. He said that he and Courchesne would discuss the job Wednesday.
After the special meeting, Morris said he didn’t know why Kelley had resigned.
“I’m not sure exactly,” he said. “She will be missed.”
Selectman David Yesman made the motion to accept the resignation “reluctantly.”
“I think she’s done a good job for five years,” Yesman said. “I’m sorry to see her go. She told me that it was time for her to move on.”
Selectman Michael Knoras, who recently had a public disagreement with Kelley over a proposed change in town meeting petitions, said he accepted the resignation “with regret.”
Selectwoman Stephanie Gibson Thompson said that Kelley had done a “terrific job ... and she’s a wonderful person.”
“I think we all feel the same way,” said Morris.