BATH — The city has begun looking for a new clerk to fill the vacancy created by the Nov. 22 resignation of Mary Howe.

The position is posted at cityofbath.com, and applications are due Friday, Dec. 20, Erika Helgerson, the city’s human resources director, said Tuesday. In the meantime, Deputy Clerk Darci Wheeler, who has worked with the city since August 2017, is serving as interim clerk.

It is the second time in a year the city has sought a new clerk. Mary White, who spent more than 20 years in that position, retired Dec. 31, 2018. Howe, deputy clerk since January 2018, became interim clerk at that point, and was appointed permanent clerk this July.

Howe, who was Freeport’s deputy clerk from 2008-2017 and town clerk in Woolwich for a few months in 2017, fell and broke her femur Sept. 29 after a fox chased her in her Brunswick yard. Although not bitten, Howe underwent surgery for the femur and spent the next weeks recovering at home while working with a physical therapist.

With recovery due to run three to six months, “I felt that it was only fair to resign and concentrate on healing,” Howe said in a Nov. 22 email to The Forecaster.

“Darci did a great job” managing last month’s election, and sought help from the state and other clerks in ensuring the job was done correctly, City Council Chairwoman Mari Eosco said Tuesday. “Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge election, but that’s a great way to get your feet wet.”

The clerk’s responsibilities involving elections have become more complex over the years, she said. “There’s a lot more to the elections than … when I first started” on the council in 2007, she said. “The rules and everything around it have become more labor intensive.”

While White’s institutional memory presented a significant loss after her retirement, Howe “really stepped up” and was “great,” Eosco said. “We were sorry to see her go, but it’s completely understandable.”

Along with handling elections, the clerk’s office offers support to the City Council, as well as “routine and complex supervisory, clerical and administrative work” related to the city’s government, voter registration, vital records, business licensing and records retention.

Wheeler said Tuesday that she is “definitely interested” in becoming permanent clerk. Having managed three retail stores for Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolate Confections, the Bowdoin woman said, “I’m definitely a people person … Everyone here has been extremely supportive of me during this transition, and I really do look forward to continuing here.”

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