Town clerk passes torch in Hawley



News Editor
Published: 12/16/2021 4:52:47 PM

HAWLEY — The recently appointed town clerk and the former town clerk have at least one thing in common: their favorite part of the job.

“I really liked being town clerk ’cause I got to put faces to the names, especially on election day,” said Pamela Shrimpton, 62, who has handed over the role she held for nine years to Liz Billings. “I got to meet almost everybody.”

Billings, 37, echoed Shrimpton. While training under Shrimpton throughout November for her first town government position, and since officially becoming town clerk on Dec. 1, the East Hawley Road resident said she has enjoyed getting to know her neighbors and learning people’s names in the small town of 335 residents.

“I just want things to run smoothly for the town and make sure the residents get what they need,” Billings said. Speaking to the importance of the role, she added, “I run vital records and I am the chief voting registrar. All of that needs to be run relatively smoothly and is important so every vote gets counted.”

After Shrimpton expressed her plans to move out of town, which would disqualify her from holding the Hawley town clerk’s position, Selectboard Chair Hussain Hamdan approached Billings about filling the role. Billings and her husband, Shawn, have lived in Hawley since 2016, now with their 4-year-old daughter, Rachel.

“I’m very well organized and he’s seen me do things that way and juggle multiple things at once,” said Billings, a freelance graphic designer and substitute teacher at Hawlemont Regional School.

Likewise, Billings’ predecessor expressed confidence in her.

“She’s a very smart woman and she’s going to be fine, I know it,” Shrimpton said. “I feel good about it.”

After 15 years in Hawley, Shrimpton and her husband now live in a condominium in Greenfield that allows for a faster commute to see their daughter and granddaughter in Easthampton. She had been a poll worker for elections in Hawley, and fellow residents recommended her for town clerk when the position became vacant.

“I’ve done a lot of administrative type work, but I’d never done any government work,” recalled Shrimpton, who does freelance proofreading and copy editing.

The job did become more time-consuming over the course of nine years, between more tasks being done on computers, “which brought more work, really, not less work,” Shrimpton said, and the addition of early voting that requires each municipality to be open for certain polling hours depending on the town’s size.

Still, she said, being town clerk has “been great.”

“I really, really loved it,” she said, “and if I wasn’t leaving town I would still be there.”

Shrimpton plans to remain a trustee and corresponding secretary of the Sons & Daughters of Hawley, the nonprofit historical society, and she expects to return in April to train Billings on elections, “because that’s a whole ’nother issue.” Billings herself will be on the May election ballot, when she will run in hopes of keeping the town clerk position more permanently.

Billings’ office hours at Town Hall will be on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon — a change from the Wednesday hours held by Shrimpton. She can be reached at 413-339-5518.

Reach Shelby Ashline at
413-772-0261, ext. 270 or


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