January 24, 2024
• The April town election will be Tedi Eaton’s last as town clerk, with her own job appearing on the ballot.
In her 42 years of service, Eaton has led the town through 10 presidential races, the first being Ronald Reagan’s reelection in November 1984. On the local level, she has recorded votes, certified results and sworn in generations of elected officials.
In a letter addressed to the Select Board and town leadership, Eaton expressed her intentions to give up her long-held position and her “mixed emotions” about doing so.
“I have served the Town of Needham since April 1982 and have loved almost every moment of my career as Needham Town Clerk,” Eaton wrote. “I will miss it tremendously, but it is time for me to step down.”
The town is entering “a very busy election year,” Eaton said, which means the office will “need to replace some of our very good part-time staff.” If necessary, Eaton added she could work part-time after the election to assist her replacement and ease the transition.
“Hopefully my experience along with that of the Massachusetts Town Clerks’ Association will serve the new Town Clerk well in the coming months,” she wrote.
During Tuesday’s Select Board meeting, members voted to add an unexpired, one-year term for town clerk on the ballot this spring.
Vice Chair Kevin Keane extended his gratitude for Eaton’s service, as she has overseen the evolution of the voting system.
“And the job has gotten remarkably complex. We have early voting, we have absentee voting, voting by mail. I think if we went all the way back, she started with papyrus,” Keane joked at the meeting. “But she’s been there a long time serving the town, so it’s appreciated.”
Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick shared her thoughts on Eaton’s announcement in an emailed statement.
“Throughout her tenure, she successfully navigated a great deal of change with vital record keeping, state election reform and Massachusetts laws, not to mention managing the busy Town Clerk’s office during the pandemic,” Fitzpatrick wrote. “Tedi did it all with tremendous dedication to the Town and a true commitment to public service. We appreciate her over four decades of service and wish her well in her retirement.”
There are a number of open seats this election, including two on the Select Board, two on the School Committee and one on the Planning Board. Eighty-one Town Meeting member positions will also be on the ballot. A full list of available elected positions is available on the town clerk’s page on the town’s website.
The election is Tuesday, April 9.