Mary Olberding easily elected county register of deeds
Mary Olberding, who won Hampshire County register of deeds, reacts to election results with her daugher, Abigail, 12, Tuesday during a party for democrats at Hotel Northampton. Purchase photo reprints »
Mary Olberding, center, who won Hampshire County register of deeds, talks to supporters during a party for democrats Tuesday at Hotel Northampton. Purchase photo reprints »
Mary Olberding, who won Hampshire County register of deeds, talks to two of her children, Jack, 10, and Ellie, 6, during an election party for democrats Tuesday at Hotel Northampton. Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — “I love election day,” Mary Olberding said Tuesday night as poll results began to trickle in.
She probably loves it even more now.
Olberding, 45, of Belchertown, defeated Northampton City Treasurer George Zimmerman to become Hampshire County’s next register of deeds.
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Olberding, a longtime Democrat and fervent supporter of the party and its candidates, said the experience of moving from supporter to candidate has been “a little surreal.”
She admitted she was surprised at the amount of pre-election publicity the race garnered, considering it’s not an office people normally hear much about.
“It’s the most important office not everyone has heard of,” she said. “You don’t hear about the job if it’s done well.”
At its core, the registry of deeds oversees and keeps records of all land transactions in the county.
Former register Marianne L. Donohue retired in Sept. 2011 after 23 years.
Olberding ran a campaign touting her managerial experience and standing firmly on the planks of the Democratic Party platform.
When Olberding takes office in January, she will oversee a staff of seven and earn $90,000 annually.
Olberding defeated her Democratic challengers Bonnie MacCracken of Amherst, and Timothy O’Leary of Southampton in September’s primary.
Zimmerman avoided the primary fray, running as an independent candidate. There were no Republican challengers.
Olberding, who volunteered for David E. Sullivan’s successful run for Northwestern district attorney in 2009, received his endorsement, along with support from Donohue, state Sen. Stanley Rosenburg, D-Amherst, state Rep. Ellen Story. D-Amherst, and state Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, among others.
Donna Riley of Northampton said she was swayed toward supporting Olberding because of her managerial experience, her attention to detail and her human resources background.
“She knows how to work with people and how to listen to people,” Riley said.
Olberding said she’s confident her background will serve her and the county well as register, a position she’s always considered managerial.
Zimmerman ran on his legal and real estate experience, trumpeting his qualifications — including recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars in owed back taxes — over party affiliation, a message that struck a chord with his supporters.
Olberding described her most recent occupation as a “professional mother” but cited her previous work in human resources and management as natural fits for the work required of the register.
She is also the vice-chairwoman of the Belchertown Finance Committee. Previously she was human resources manager at Schott North America Inc. in Southbridge, and also worked at The Cross Country Group in Springfield, where she administered record keeping and government compliance data.