Orwell town clerk passes the torch

ORWELL — For the first time in two decades, Orwell residents on Town Meeting Day will elect a town clerk who is not named Susan Ann Arnebold.

Arnebold announced her decision to resign from her post as Orwell town clerk this past November, and on March 1 Orwell voters will elect her successor.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with,” the 78-year-old said of the town government she worked with during her 20 years on the job. “It’s been an absolutely delightful experience for me. If I could go back 20 years I would do it again but I’m at the stage in my life where I just need to take it easy.”

In Orwell, the town clerk position is elected by Australian ballot every Town Meeting Day and the town clerk appoints their assistant. After Arnebold’s resignation took effect Dec. 1, the Orwell selectboard officially appointed Elizabeth “Betty” Walker, who served as Arnebold’s assistant for 18 years, to serve as the town clerk for the remainder of Arnebold’s term. Sharon Macedo is Walker’s appointed assistant.

On March 1, voters will decide if Walker will stay at the post for a one-year term. Walker is the only candidate for town clerk on the Orwell ballot.

“That’s usually the way it is,” said Orwell Selectman Roland “Ted” Simmons. “Unless someone argues about it, the selectboard appoints someone to serve and they can run for re-election at the end of their term.”

After working side-by-side with Arnebold, Walker said she’s feeling prepared. Arnebold still comes to the town office to provide extra instruction and insight.

“She taught me what I know and she left me a great paper trail,” Walker said of her predecessor. “If I ever have any questions I know right where to look.”

Walker said she thinks her 18 years of experience have made her confident about her ability to get the job done.

“I’ve been here a long time so I have a better idea of what’s going on than someone else coming in and running for the job,” she said.

As for Arnebold, the Orwell resident of 21 years said she plans to enjoy her retirement and travel to visit friends in Scotland.

She said she is confident whoever voters elect will keep the town of 1,200 in good standing.

“We don’t have much to grumble about here in Orwell,” she said.

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