Louise Miller Prepares to Become Next Town Clerk

March 5, 2024
• Running unopposed, the Finance Committee chair is expected to replace Tedi Eaton as town clerk this April.

Call it good timing.

While Town Clerk Tedi Eaton contemplated another two-year term in 2022, Louise Miller considered possibly succeeding her. But Eaton’s continued tenure and Miller’s new job meant such a transition didn’t happen.

This year’s election is a different story. In April, Eaton will step down after 42 years, and Miller, currently chair of the Finance Committee, will likely take her place. Miller is the only candidate running for the position.

“It feels really exciting and overwhelming at the same time,” Miller said.

The town clerk position is unique in that it’s elected, not appointed. While Miller expressed her slight surprise at being the sole name on the ballot, she said such a race attracts a particular type of candidate, given all the job entails.

And this year, the office will be especially busy, as Miller and staffers will handle thousands of ballots in November’s presidential election. On top of elections, the town clerk’s office also handles licenses, the annual town census, dog registration and personal records.

“It’s the office that deals with the people, the big events in their lives. Births, deaths, marriages,” Miller said. “You get to see a lot, see what’s happening.”

As the town administrator in Wayland during the pandemic, Miller observed the rise in popularity of mail-in ballots, as well as the simultaneous difficulties with in-person voting. With more complex regulations around voting, Miller said her experience as an attorney should also prove useful.

Miller mostly recently worked as Framingham’s chief finance officer and director of administration and finance for two years, until December of last year. She has served on the Needham Finance Committee since 2012 and previously worked as a commissioner of trust funds and assistant purchasing agent for the Town of Needham. Miller also sat on the Needham Cultural Council.

“I’m used to doing administrative work. I like it,” Miller said. “I’m used to organizing big things.”

Once elected, Miller would need to vacate her seat on the Finance Committee. She is expected to take over for Eaton a week after the April election — Eaton will need to certify the results.

Miller moved to Needham in 1995, but she began her life in Paris before immigrating to Michigan with her family at 14 years old. After settling in Needham to raise her children, Miller became involved in Needham Public Schools through the Parent Teacher Council and School Committee, which is what sparked her interest in municipal government.

“It’s a great way to make a real difference in everybody’s everyday life. All the decisions that are made affect everybody,” she said. “They don’t always maybe realize it, but I think local government is what most directly touches people.”

Her first few months will likely involve finding the “rhythms” of the office, Miller said. She’ll be guided by staffers as well as Eaton herself, who’s stated she’s willing to work through the fall elections on a part-time basis if needed.

Miller said she looks forward to the job.

“Making sure that we have fair elections, that’s something that is of particular interest to me,” Miller said.

Since joining the one-woman race, Miller has already stopped by the office to familiarize herself with the work, Eaton said on Super Tuesday.

With Miller’s background in local government, Eaton said she has faith in Miller’s capabilities.

“I think she’ll do a great job,” Eaton said.

The town election is Tuesday, April 9.

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