Changing of the guard
After 25 years as Greenfield’s clerk, Maureen Winseck will return to the real estate business
GREENFIELD — Longtime town clerk Maureen Winseck has decided to retire from that position after 25 years and return to her former career as a real estate broker.
Winseck, 62, said it was time for her to leave the town and pursue other interests. She said based on the town charter, which was updated earlier this year, she does not believe much will change, except the face people see when they enter the office at 14 Court Square asking for the town clerk.
She plans to leave on Jan. 24.
Winseck said she will miss daily contact with residents and other Town Hall employees, but will develop new relationships, maybe with some of the same people, as a real estate broker with Fitzgerald Real Estate on Federal Street, where her sister Nancy Hawkins and her husband Ed Winseck both work.
Prior to Winseck accepting the position as Greenfield’s town clerk in 1988, she worked as a real estate broker in her family’s business, the former Merrigan Real Estate.
“I always felt that I would return to that profession at a future date,” said Winseck. “I always kept my eye on the market and had an interest in it.”
Winseck said her job as town clerk has been a central part of her life for a quarter-century and has come with many rewards and challenges, just as she hopes her new job will.
“I have served the residents of Greenfield for the past 25 years,” she wrote in a letter to Mayor William Martin, Town Council President Mark Wisnewski and Human Resources Director Dennis Helmus. “I submit this notice with mixed emotion, but I feel it is time to move on.”
As town clerk, Winseck’s duties have included keeping town records, vital statistics, including birth and death certificates, issuing licenses, including dog, hunting and fishing and marriage, and registering voters. She has also been responsible for conducting the local census.
Winseck, with the help of her full-time Assistant Town Clerk Deborah Tuttle and two part-time employees, is also responsible for conducting, local, state, federal and special elections.
“That’s been the biggest part of the job,” she said. “That’s what has taken up the most time each year. The election laws are constantly changing, so you really have to keep up.”
Winseck said the second biggest responsibility has been working as the Town Council’s clerk. She is responsible for posting meetings, keeping minutes and helping guide members through different processes. She attends all full council meetings and some subcommittee meetings.
“Those responsibilities have increased over the years as councilors have become more and more active in their roles,” said Winseck.
She said she will leave the position making $68,100 a year.
Winseck said she has kept her real estate license up to date since the 1970s, when she worked in the Merrigan family business.
“My mom started the business back then, so I just felt right about going back to it,” she said. “I grew up with it.”
Winseck said the town clerk is appointed by Town Council. She said she has not yet had a chance to talk in depth with Wisnewski about replacing her, because she just announced her plans on Christmas Eve.
She said she is up for re-appointment in 2015, so she expects the council will appoint someone to finish her term and then appoint someone to a three-year term in 2015.
Wisnewski, who is also acting as mayor while Martin is away this week, could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Helmus is also away and so could not be reached.
“I’d highly recommend Deb as town clerk,” said Winseck, referring to Tuttle, who has worked for the town for 23 years.
Tuttle began working in the selectmen’s office and later in the council’s office and has been working in the clerk’s office for the last decade.
“She’s very familiar with the legislative branch of government in Greenfield, and with everything else this office does,” said Winseck. “She’s definitely qualified.”
Winseck said she plans to spend more time with her daughter Katie and her two grandchildren, who all live in East Longmeadow.
“I’m also hoping to have a little time to myself,” she said.
Correction: Deborah Tuttle has worked in the clerk's office for 23 years.