The Mountain Times

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Buck takes over as Mendon clerk

MENDON-Ever striving to serve her town, Gail Buck has taken over as the new Mendon town clerk.

Buck ran successfully as a write-in candidate, topping two challengers. She took office the day after town meeting, succeeding Jeff Bradley.

"I didn't hear it was open until I saw in the paper that two people were running," she said. "I called the town office and learned I was a day late. But I worked pretty hard to get it."

Town clerk was a logical next step. Buck has been active as a volunteer in Mendon for years. She is a justice of the peace and a member of the board of civil authority.

"I love marrying people, but as justice of the peace I am a member of the board," she said. "As town clerk, I'm chairman of the board. If I run for justice of the peace again, that will leave the board one member short. I think I should give that up."

Buck's family has had ties to the Mendon area for a very long time, though she grew up in Hingham, Mass., the family spent its summers in Mendon. Upon graduation from Simmons College in Boston in 1975, she decided to go back to Mendon. Her father ran the family business at the Christmas Tree Barn in Rutland Town. The farm grew and sold Christmas trees.

"The family always had Vermont ties," Buck said. "I was one of the few college graduates who actually had a job coming out of college; I worked as a copywriter for WSYV and WRUT. WRUT was one of the first, if not the first, computerized radio stations in Vermont. The computer took up the entire room."

Buck took over the Christmas Tree Barn when her father died in 1979, and ran it until her retirement from that business recently.

"It was time," she said. "The business was changing. More than half the purchases were with credit cards, and those come with processing fees, and there was increasing competition."

Buck said one of her predecessors, longtime town clerk Ann Sigiser, first suggested she run.

"She asked me to run when she stepped down, Buck said, "but at the time I was doing too many things. However, I always want to serve the town, and town clerk is one more way I can do that. Besides, I love history and genealogy. I was spending plenty of time in town offices already."

Tracking down family history is a lot more than poring over old documents, Buck said.

"A lot of information is missing," she said. "People left out information out of concern for things like illegitimacy. Besides, it was always the men who inherited. Women lost their identities when they married, so there's a lot more information on men than there is for women."

Buck said she does not find any aspect of the job dull.

"This is a very active office," she said. "I spend a lot of time recording documents. It's such an important piece of the job, and every document is different, and has to be correct. People expect information, and to have things ready when they visit. Everything I can learn about the system is a way to help someone."

In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene last year, she said, a lot of people needed help.

"Irene made me so proud to be a Vermonter and a resident of Mendon," she said. "This office was teeming with activity. I was volunteering on Woodchip Parkway, which was the only way to get from one side of town to the other. People had no idea how hard the selectboard and town employees worked. We only pay the board a stipend, but they pitched in as hard as anybody."

More information about the town and its government can be found at the official website, www.mendonvt.org.

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