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Clerk trading Hancock for Clear Spring

February 27, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

HANCOCK - Hancock's longtime town clerk has decided to exit the fast lane.

Juanita Grimm said for 16 years, she's sped the 62 round-trip miles on Interstate 70 to and from her home in Huyetts Crossroads and her job in Hancock.

And it's time to slow down.

Grimm's last day on the job in Hancock is Tuesday. She will take her new post as the town clerk in Clear Spring the following day, working alongside retiring clerk Nancy Keefer for three months.

"Hancock is fast-paced," said Grimm, 34. "Clear Spring seems a lot more laid back."

And closer.

Grimm racks up nearly 36,000 miles per year on her vehicle, and has missed only one day of work due to poor traveling conditions. She had to turn around during a blizzard that dropped nearly 3 feet of snow, she said.

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She said she also wants to spend more time with her children, Brandon, 8, and Brittney, 10, and her husband, Keith, who is "shocked" about her job change.

"I've worked here ever since I've known him," she said.

A graduate of Hancock High School, Grimm worked for the town government as a student during the summers of 1984 and 1985 as part of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Assistance (CETA) program.

She became a full-time clerk in January 1986.

Grimm has since worked under six mayors, five town managers and countless council members.

"When you ask the kid something, she can remember clear back to the 1980s," said Town Manager Louis Close. "She's like a human filing cabinet."

What do town clerks do?

"What don't they do?" Grimm replied, laughing.

She handles accounts payable and receivable and insurance for town employees, records the minutes for meetings of the Mayor and Town Council and the Planning Commission, takes reservations for the town park pool and pavilion, registers voters, issues building and parking permits, helps answer calls to the town's police department, and collects payments for parking tickets and water and tax bills.

She calls Roto-Rooter when the pipes clog and even gets the food for Election Board members during town elections, she said.

"We used to have a job description. Now, we just do what we have to do," Grimm said. "We get surprises all the time."

Such as?

"Lou's attitude when he comes to work," Grimm said, chuckling.

She expects less work in smaller Clear Spring, but will have her hands full computerizing the town's files, she said.

Despite a demanding workload, the most challenging part of her job has been adapting to the differing management styles and ideas of new town officials, she said.

One former mayor would "red pen" all her town meeting minutes, even adding missing commas, she said.

Yet Grimm wanted to thank all the officials under whom she's worked for "teaching me municipal government."

"This is where I made my connections with state and county employees," she said.

Grimm has also forged lasting friendships with such co-workers as Virginia Stanley, and good working relationships with her Hancock customers.

"When somebody comes to the window, we take a minute to look up and say, 'Hi. How are you?'" Grimm said.

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