By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
SHREWSBURY – The transition to the role of Town Clerk has been seamless for former Assistant Town Clerk Sharyn Thomas.
She was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to succeed Sandra Wright, who retired as Town Clerk in February, having served for 11 years.
Thomas, 49, said that Wright did a great job of mentoring her and added that they worked closely in preparation for the transition.
Thomas boasts Shrewsbury roots
Thomas grew up in Shrewsbury. She went to Shrewsbury Public Schools through eighth grade and then on to Holy Name High School in Worcester before matriculating to the University of Mass – Dartmouth.
Shrewsbury is where Thomas and her husband reside and have raised their three children, a 19-year-old son who is in college, and two daughters – a sophomore at Shrewsbury High School and a sixth grader at Sherwood Middle School.
Experience matters for Thomas
Thomas has worked for the town in several capacities. But it was in 2013 that she joined the staff in the town clerk’s office as a part-time administrative assistant.
Two years later, she became full-time, and then, in 2017, she became the assistant town clerk.
“I tried out all the desks,” she said jokingly. “I think it worked out perfectly because there are main responsibilities on each desk, so I kind of learned as I went around.”
She said that when she was named assistant town clerk, Wright had put her on the path to earn her certification to help “groom her” to eventually become Town Clerk. The certification process is a three-year program through the New England Municipal Clerks Institute.
“I was supposed to complete that in 2020, but we all know how 2020 went with COVID,” she reflected.
Thomas has found the course to be valuable as a source of networking and learning opportunities from her peers as well as support. She expects to have her certification completed in 2022.
Thomas undaunted by pandemic
The past years’ experience with the pandemic obviously didn’t deter Thomas from applying for the job.
“It was pretty intense with the mail-in [voting] and the changes in legislation, but we have a good team in the office and we all work well together,” she remarked. “It has to get done, so you just buckle down, and you do it.”
She also credited the “great” group of volunteers they had who helped organize roughly 15,000 ballots for mailing and subsequent processing during recent elections.
Local Election/Town Meeting run smoothly
When the Community Advocate caught up with Thomas earlier this year, she and her office were gearing up for early voting for the 2021 town election May 4 and then the Annual Town Meeting May 22.
When asked how she thought this year’s election was going to differ from last year, she said that because it was the second municipal election during COVID-19, people better understood how early voting and mail-in ballots worked.
When not at work, Thomas enjoys making stained-glass, gardening and spending family time on the cape.
“Nothing beats the beach and a book,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thomas said that the best thing about her job is that it is “a great place to work.”
“You know what’s going on in the community,” she said.