Amherst town clerk leaving to become administrator of small town

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Published: 6/4/2019 10:09:37 PM

AMHERST — Margaret Nartowicz is leaving her second stint as Amherst town clerk, and her role as the clerk to the Town Council, to become the first town administrator of Berlin, a small town in Worcester County that’s crossed by Interstate 495.

After returning to Amherst’s municipal government less than a year ago, after departing in 2003, Nartowicz, of Deerfield, submitted her resignation this week, effective at the end of June, to Town Manager Paul Bockelman.

The new job will bring her closer to her family and be a return to leading municipal government after serving as Rutland’s town administrator from 2015 to 2018. Before that, Nartowicz spent a decade as Sunderland’s town administrator.

“I’m passionate about administering in small towns,” Nartowicz said Tuesday.

She added that the Berlin position is an “incredible opportunity,” in particular because she will set the tone for the job in the community of around 3,000 residents.

Bockelman said Nartowicz was hired last May and started Aug. 1, following the retirement of Sandra Burgess, because of the talents she brought to the position. Those talents included being able to run a town clerk’s office, including handling elections and vital records, while also being capable of serving the Town Council.

Bockelman said a search for a successor starts immediately. “I don’t expect that we’ll find that same combination of skills in one person,” Bockelman said.

Those in the clerk’s office are willing to step up, he said, observing that Assistant Town Clerk Susan Audette and Athena O’Keeffe, management assistant, will be present during the transition.

This will mark the third “first” for Nartowicz, as she was Rutland’s first town administrator and the first clerk to the Town Council.

“There aren’t many people who get to say they’ve participated in the ground level of a government transition,” Nartowicz said.

But the job has been a challenge. “There’s no denying the transition has impacted my department,” Nartowicz said.

In May, before the Finance Committee, Nartowicz described her role as clerk to the council as “extremely intense and challenging” and that the level of staff support the Town Council was demanding couldn’t be done by one person. She said meeting preparation, recording of votes and transcription of minutes was too much when added the town clerk’s duties.

At the time Bockelman said the first several months would be time-consuming and hoped it would moderate for both the town clerk and the councilors themselves.

Bockelman said he will be revisiting the role of the council’s clerk with Town Council President Lynn Griesemer.

In the meantime, Nartowicz said she is confident that O’Keeffe, who has been the clerk to the council in her previous absences, will be able to step into that role.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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