Wright to retire after 34 years in town government
By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – After 34 years in town government, 11 of those as Town Clerk, Sandra Wright, has announced that she will be retiring at the end of February.
A challenging 2020
Her last year as Town Clerk was a challenging one, she admitted, with the pandemic, a presidential election, early voting and the mail-in ballots; not to mention executing Town Meeting under unusual circumstances.
“Of all the years I have worked there this year has been the most trying because of so many changes to the voting laws,” she remarked. “It was just unbelievable.”
“I had a lot of volunteers and people that helped out so it all worked smoothly…but it was the busiest year in all the 34 years I worked there. We were working non-stop, seven days a week for three weeks before the [general] election,” she commented.
When asked if the pandemic influenced her decision to retire, she said, “No, I was thinking of retiring last year but when I looked ahead and saw that this was going to be such a busier election year (not even thinking about the pandemic) but just the idea that it was a presidential year I said that wouldn’t be the right time.”
Over three decades of service
Her career began in 1986 with Don Gray as town clerk and then Ann Dagle. At the time, the Town Clerk was an elected position but that changed in the early 2000s and became an appointment by the Board of Selectmen.
She shared the experience of her interview with the Board in 2009:
“The interview was televised and I was so nervous that if you asked me my name, I probably couldn’t tell you. Before I went on with my interview a middle school student appeared before the Board to report to them his recent meeting with Colin Powell, a retired four star general and Secretary of State,” she reflected. “The Board asked the student if he would like his mother to sit with him for his report; he said ‘no’ he’d be fine reporting himself. All the time I’m thinking I have to go on after this kid. Well. I finished my interview and stated that maybe the student’s mother should have sat with me.”
She has worked for three town managers: Richard Carney, Dan Morgado and most recently Kevin Mizikar.
“Sandy’s service to the town has been remarkable. The Town Clerk is entrusted with the fundamental process of our democracy, elections and voting. There was nothing that stood in her way from ensuring fair and impartial elections in Shrewsbury, not even the Coronavirus pandemic and most chaotic election in our history where rules were drastically changed,” Mizikar shared in an email. “Her steady leadership in the Town Hall will be missed, but I wish her all the best in her retirement years.”
The next steps
Wright, 70, doesn’t have specific plans post retirement but that she has six grandchildren that keep her busy.
“I do want to recognize that all the accomplishments made in the office couldn’t have been done without the hard working and dedicated staff I’ve had over the years,” she remarked. “I am going to miss all my colleagues and dealings with the public. I’ve really enjoyed working there and couldn’t think of any other place I’d rather work.”
The Selectmen will appoint Wright’s successor for a three-year term in the weeks prior to Feb. 26, 2021, her last day.