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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 4, 2008
Deputy clerk appointed
By Melissa Hale-Spencer
ALTAMONT The face of village hall the person who is there every day and most visible to the public is about to change.
After a decade as village clerk, Jean LaCrosse is planning to retire. Tuesday night, the village board hired Patricia Blackwood as deputy clerk.
“I think she’s going to work out very well,” said LaCrosse after the board’s executive session. “She starts tomorrow.”
On Wednesday afternoon, her first day of work, Blackwood told The Enteprise, “I love it; I do.”
She said what appealed to her was the diversity. “There are lots of different things to do,” she said.
LaCrosse will be training Blackwood with the goal of having her assume all the clerk’s duties by April. “There are a tremendous amount of things to learn,” she said.
Forty people inquired about the new post, LaCrosse said, and 30 applied.
Mayor James Gaughan called the review of candidates “a rather intense process.” The field was winnowed by himself, LaCrosse, and Trustee Christine Marshall, he said.
Blackwood, he said, worked for 17 years for a computer start-up company, Logical Net, which was downsizing. He said her skills as office manager and with payroll are “very transferrable.”
“She comes highly touted,” said the mayor.
Blackwood said she left Logical Net as director of human resources and, although she was asked to stay on as the company downsized, she decided “with so many changes, it wasn’t the same environment.”
She lives on Becker Road with her husband and their 11-year-old daughter, Victoria, and she enjoys working close to home.
Gaughan said the new post was included in the current budget. The post was advertised at a starting salary of $27,446 per year “with excellent benefits, including health insurance” for a 30-hour work week.
“If Patti satisfactorily passes a probation period and the training Jean will provide, the board will consider her appointment as village clerk no later than one year from appointment date,” Gaughan said in an e-mail to The Enterprise yesterday. The clerk’s salary was advertised at $40,000 a year.
The list of duties is long and varied. It includes maintaining records, preparing agendas, preparing water and sewer use bills and tax bills and tracking collection, posting notices, answering public inquiries, administering elections, ordering office supplies, and issuing permits.
LaCrosse said many of the accomplishments she is most proud of in her decade as village clerk weren’t part of her designated duties. She was instrumental in the renovations of the village courtroom and in upgrading the village office technology and equipment.
“I re-did the back room, which was basically a storage room,” she said.
Her favorite activities were coordinating the village park programs. Asked why she took on the added responsibilities, LaCrosse answered with a smile, “I must be a child.”
Asked about her plans for retirement, LaCrosse, who declined to give her age, said, “I can’t imagine myself not busy. It’s a shocking thing to think about leaving. I’ve made many nice relationships in the office and in the community.”