Longtime town clerk is retiring

Elaine McClary is stepping down after 23 years of service to Francestown

After serving Francestown residents for 23 years, Elaine McClary is retiring as Town Clerk and Tax Collector. Her last day in the office will be Thursday.

“I enjoyed every minute of the job — it was best job I ever had. But I’m off to live the good life,” said McClary in a recent interview.

“I plan to move to Mass. with my daughter, Linda, and her husband, Jerry. I want to travel and Linda works for Delta so we can fly free. I’d also like to go on a cruise and try zip-lining,” McClary said.

Despite being excited to begin the next chapter in her life, McClary will miss Francestown, and says she will return to visit from time to time. “I’m going to miss living in the country, and I’m going to miss the people. Very nice people live in Francestown.”

McClary was born in Lebanon, Maine, raised in Rochester, and moved to Francestown in 1969.

“I had worked in banking for quite a few years, and decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I applied for the Deputy Town Clerk and Tax collector job and got it in 1991,” recalled McClary. McClary will be missed by many, especially Pamela Finnell, who has worked as McClary’s deputy for three years, will step up into the vacant role.

“I’ll be stepping up and serving as Tax Collector and Clerk until March, then I will run for the position. Elaine has been a great mentor and teacher. My relationship with her is the best working relationship I’ve ever had,” said Finnell, who said she will miss McClary’s sense of humor.

“She’s a wealth of knowledge. We always worked well together and were able to feed off one another. I feel privileged to have gotten to know her on personal and professional level.”

Town Administrator Michael Branley has been working with McClary for two years and applauded her efforts during a recent interview.

“Elaine did a great job. She is very hard working and keeps our records straight. She has a great attention to detail. We will certainly miss her.”

Before Finnell was deputy, Donna Contildes worked under McClary for seven years. “Elaine is an intelligent, kind, caring, remarkable woman. She was truly dedicated and devoted to her job and to the residents of Francestown,” wrote Contildes in a statement released last week.

“She was not just my boss, she is my best friend. I don’t think the general public realizes all that is involved in that job. A town clerk in a small town faces different challenges. Everyone knows you and your home phone number. Elaine would always get calls at home after office hours and would always graciously help everyone. The town Clerk’s office will never be the same without her,” wrote Contildes.

McClary will be gone, but not forgotten, and she herself will never forget all of the intricacies of the small town job.

“The job was interesting, I wore many hats at once. I was never doing the same thing over and over again, and solving peoples problems is always interesting,” said McClary, who is confident that Finnell is capable of stepping into her role immediately.

“Pam will do a great job. She’s very thorough and eager to learn. I’m sure the people are in good hands. She works well with others and goes out of her way to help people,” said McClary.

As McClary embarks on her retirement years, she knows keeping busy is a must. “I’ll probably have to find something else to do to keep busy,” she laughed. This will be a new chapter in my life, something different. I’ll miss the old and hope I enjoy the new. My daughter will keep me busy.”

Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or

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