Franklin County’s clerk of courts announces she won’t seek reelection

Susan K. Emond, Franklin County’s clerk of courts, is retiring at the end of the year.

Susan K. Emond, Franklin County’s clerk of courts, is retiring at the end of the year. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Susan K. Emond, Franklin County’s clerk of courts, is retiring at the end of the year.

Susan K. Emond, Franklin County’s clerk of courts, is retiring at the end of the year. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-16-2024 2:01 PM

GREENFIELD — Franklin County will have a new clerk of courts next year, as the woman finishing her second six-year term in the position has decided not to seek reelection.

Susan K. Emond has announced her intention to retire at the end of the year and said her successor will be sworn in on Jan. 2, 2025.

“Best job in the world,” she said in her office in the Franklin County Justice Center on Wednesday. “I think the work is rewarding, it’s interesting, it’s important. People’s lives depend on what we do here, so it’s incredibly important that we get it right and we be as helpful as we possibly can. Because people come here and they are … usually not having their best day.”

A clerk of courts, Emond explained, is responsible for the operation of the Superior Court in the county.

“So it’s basically managing employees and quality control of our casework,” she said. “I’m responsible for our budget, our office budget and implementation of any changes in law.”

While her longtime plans are up in the air, Emond, 60, said she intends to spend next winter in a southwestern Florida condominium.

Emond stressed her gratitude to Franklin County residents for the honor and privilege of serving them. She said customer service has always been her primary focus and she hopes everyone — regardless of their reason for using the Superior Court — has had a positive experience with her staff. She said she can’t control the outcome of court cases, but her office strives to control the environment to ensure everyone is treated with respect and kindness.

Emond has been employed by the Massachusetts Trial Court for 32 years, starting in District Court in an entry-level position. She was eventually hired as the first assistant clerk in Franklin County Superior Court and was elected clerk of courts in 2013.

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She said she is grateful for the camaraderie and friendships formed with people who work for the Trial Court.

She specifically mentioned former clerks John Johnson, Margaret “Meg” Palmeri and Eve Blakeslee, her immediate predecessor.

She also praised staffers Heather Barton, Amanda LeBlanc and Ben Simanski, the court’s first assistant clerk magistrate and the one she has endorsed to be her successor.

Simanski has accumulated the necessary signatures to get on the state primary ballot and the deadline has passed for an opponent to throw their hat into the ring.

Emond explained that getting onto the primary ballot in Franklin County requires 500 signatures from registered voters who are in your political party or untethered to any party at all. Emond and Simanski are Democrats, though the clerk of courts is an administrative position, not a political one.

“With much anticipation, I and the entire local Trial Court community are most hopeful that [Simanski] will become this county’s new elected clerk of courts,” Emond said. “And if he is, he’ll serve this county with the utmost care and intention that he has done since he’s been the first assistant clerk [magistrate] the last 11 years.”

The primary election is Sept. 3, while the general election will be held Nov. 5.

Simanski said Emond has been wonderful to work with.

“She’s incredibly supportive. She’s one of those people that allows for her crew to try new things, community-focused. She’s kind, caring,” he said inside his Franklin County Justice Center office. “It’s truly a family here, with the focus on the betterment of our community.”

Emond mentioned she is a graduate of Greenfield High School and Greenfield Community College, where she earned an accounting degree.

“Accounting was my thing. I had always intended to be a [certified public accountant],” she said. “By the time I finished my degree at GCC, an entry-level position in the Trial Court had become available. It sounded amazing, so I applied for it and I got the job.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.