The search has ended for a new town clerk in Cape Elizabeth. Ruthie Noble, Westbrook’s deputy city clerk, will be filling the position left vacant by April Tracy, who resigned last month.

Noble was a potential candidate for Westbrook city clerk, an elected position filled by Barbara Hawkes, who has announced she won’t be running for another term. But currently, city employees are not allowed to run for elected positions in Westbrook. The Westbrook City Council is slated to consider changing that policy, but Noble said she did not want to give up the opportunity in Cape Elizabeth with the outcomes of both the council’s decision and the election still up in the air.

“My future in Westbrook has been uncertain for quite some time,” Noble said.

A special meeting with the town council to approve Town Manager Mike McGovern’s request to appoint Noble to the position, at a salary of $49,000, will be held on Monday at 1:45 p.m. She is scheduled to start working in the town on Sept. 10.

“I’ve always been very much in favor of the appointment of city clerk,” Noble said. “You can get on with the business at hand instead of worrying about campaigning to be elected to the position you were trained for.”

Noble has worked in Westbrook City Hall since 1998, when she was hired by the finance office. She has been deputy clerk since 1999. Noble, a 1979 graduate of Greeley High School, is licensed in property and casualty insurance service. After nearly two decades of working in insurance, Noble “was ready to try something different.” She said she always had an interest in municipal government, which led her to Westbrook City Hall.

Noble, 46, lives in Westbrook with her husband, Kirk Noble, and a number of animals, including a potbelly pig. They do not plan on moving.

Noble lived in Cape Elizabeth from 1991 to 1993, which she believes has given her a feel for the town.

“I look forward to returning,” she said. “It’s just an absolutely lovely town.”

Noble said she expects working in Cape Elizabeth will be “vastly different” from working in Westbrook, where she said it is easy to get caught up and distracted by the politics of the city.

“I think it will be less political, and I can focus on the work of the town clerk,” she said about the Cape Elizabeth job. “The politics of Westbrook do take up part of your time.”

Noble said she will miss her position in Westbrook, but is even more excited to start her new job. Westbrook officials, however, said they will be sad to see her go.

“I’m sorry that a person of Ruth’s qualities and commitment to the city of Westbrook is moving on,” said Westbrook City Councilor John O’Hara. In conjunction with the current city clerk’s retirement, O’Hara said, “It’s going to be very difficult for the office to recover.”

Council President Brendan Rielly said he regrets that city hall’s resistance to changing the policy to allow employees to run for office “pushed her out the door.”

“We lost one of the most talented employees in the city because of city hall,” he said.

Still, councilors are happy for Noble and wish her the best in her new position.

“I think what she’s doing is great for her,” said Councilor Michael Foley.

According to McGovern, Noble’s reputation in the city is one of the reasons she was chosen for the position in Cape Elizabeth.

“She’s very well respected in Westbrook,” said McGovern, who said he is looking forward to working with the new clerk.

Though Noble’s last day isn’t until Aug. 31, she said, in her mind, she’s already started her new job.

“It certainly is Cape Elizabeth’s gain and Westbrook’s loss,” O’Hara said.

Reporter Gordon Lane also contributed to this article.

Town clerk – Cape’s gain is Westbrook’s loss


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