By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – As Westborough Town Clerk Wendy Mickel notes on the town’s website, “The Town Clerk is an ancient and honorable position and one of the oldest elected offices [since 1718] to serve the residents of Westborough.
“But a lot of times, people just think we give out dog licenses!” she laughed.
In truth, Mickel’s office has, in one way or another, touched every single resident in the town of Westborough.
As town clerk, she is responsible for overseeing a multitude of important things such as elections, vital records, recording Town Meeting proceedings, certifying town actions and much more.
It is a job that she loves but admits it is not one that she ever envisioned herself having.
After attending Assumption College, Mickel, who grew up in Westborough, first worked at the Worcester Courthouse as an administrative assistant to several judges.
“I learned a lot there and really got a lot of insight into law and legal matters,” she said.
Her next career move was a purchasing job at GTE in Westborough. After taking time off to be with her newborn daughter, she then applied for the Westborough assistant town clerk position.
“And I have been here ever since,” she said of the decision made nearly 24 years ago. “I never thought I would be here this long.”
In 2014, she became town clerk after Nancy Yendriga retired.
Mickel, along with Assistant Town Clerk Deborah Ledoux and Administrative Assistant Susan Bush, not only oversees things such as town elections and vital records, but also interacts with companies who wish to do business in the town.
“Every business is supposed to have a business certificate,” Mickel said.
Election season is an especially busy time for a Town Clerk’s office, Mickel noted, with the 2016 presidential election and the last state election being extremely so. A constant task is recruiting and training volunteers to serve as poll workers.
“We are always working to make sure we have enough people,” Mickel said of the dedicated residents who man the polls for the long hours of an election day.
Mickel also serves as the town’s chief election official, overseeing all aspects of elections – both town and state. The office staff must tally and certify the election results before reporting them to the secretary of state.
With the advent of early voting, there are many good aspects as well as stressors, she noted.
“It’s good because we get a lot of people voting,” she said. “But there is more paperwork.”
Currently her office is processing the necessary paperwork submitted by local candidates who will run in the next Town Election, which will be held Tuesday, March 5.
Mickel’s office is responsible for keeping all of the town’s vital records, recording all births, marriages and deaths.
She used to get a lot of requests for copies of those from amateur genealogists. But that has slowed down somewhat, she said, with the popularity of sites such as AncestryDNA.
“The biggest change is that it is now done electronically. But it is a constant flow,” she said of the record keeping.
Her office also conducts the Annual Town Census; updates and maintains the state census database; prepares the Street List; and furnishes the jury list to the Office of the Jury Commissioner.
As Town Clerk, Mickel also has authority to perform marriages; it is not unusual for her to perform up to 30-35 a year.
“It can be quite fun,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a couple from another state or another culture or someone who is the military and is only in town for a short time. Or maybe it’s a same sex couple.”
“Once, a couple was in town for a funeral. They decided since everyone was here in town they might as well get married,” she noted. “There ended up being about 35 people here. It was a lot of fun.”