Pawlet treasurer wraps up 38 years

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PAWLET — When Judy Coolidge first became town treasurer in Pawlet in 1981, she only had one checkbook to manage.

Wednesday, she'll hand over that checkbook ending a 38-year run, which is believed to be the longest time in office in Pawlet history.

Coolidge announced her retirement in December. Since then, the town has hired lifelong Pawlet resident Julie Mach as her assistant who has been learning the job under Coolidge's tutelage and is expected to be appointed to the position when Coolidge steps away. Mach will have to run for election if she wants to continue.

Coolidge stayed on to help the town get through the busy season of tax payments, Town Meeting Day and other pressure-filled days. Now that the slower season has arrived she can hand it off to Mach and let her continue to grow into the complicated position. When Coolidge works her last day April 10 she will have served the town for 38 years making her the longest-serving town treasurer in Pawlet's history.

Coolidge said she had experience in real estate and insurance right out of high school, and found herself in need of a job that would allow her room for her children."I was just a young mother who wanted to be able to be flexible for when my kids needed me," Coolidge said. "I live across the street from the town hall. It's been a fabulous job for me."

She said her husband, Bud Coolidge, is already retired and she is hoping to tackle some projects she's been wanting to get to and see her family more.

"I'm actually looking forward to being able to catch up on some things at home," Coolidge said.

Those kids she started the job with?

Her son, daughter-in-law and a granddaughter live in New Jersey and her youngest son lives in Denver.

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That position she took in 1981 came with the responsibilities of a single checkbook and bills to be paid.

Today, it requires a computer and multiple accounts as the demands of the position have grown ever more complex and demanding.

"The town has grown and with it comes additional responsibilities," Coolidge said.

With nearly four decades in office, Coolidge has made a few memories, but she said they're mostly about the people she worked with.

"I've worked with so many wonderful people," Coolidge said. "Everybody has been good. The thing I will miss most is the people."

While hesitant to start a list for fear of leaving someone out, she did single out the first board she ever worked with, which she said were really special as well as all three town clerks she's worked alongside.

"The three town clerks all, every one of them, were wonderful women," Coolidge said. "Other town officials have all been friends and excellent people to work with."

When asked what she didn't like, she thought long and hard and couldn't come up with anything.

"There isn't anything I haven't liked," she said. "I have no regrets. Truly, it's been great.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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