Longtime Town Clerk Todd retires after 33 years

Longtime Town Clerk Todd retires after 33 years

Town Councilors Claire O’Hara and Douglas Osier Jr., along with other well-wishers, presented longtime Town Clerk Debra Todd, left, with flowers and a beach hat during an impromptu retirement party at the Muncipal Annex last Friday. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

NORTH SMITHFIELD – After more than three decades working for the town of North Smithfield, longtime Town Clerk Debra Todd had one thing to say about her upcoming retirement.

“It feels fabulous,” she told coworkers during an impromptu retirement party on her final day at the Municipal Annex last Friday, Sept. 6.

Todd retires this year after 33 years in the town clerk’s office, a key position that brought her into contact with nearly everyone in town government. Town employees and elected officials stopped by Friday to offer their well wishes as she finished her years of service to the town.

A near-lifelong resident of North Smithfield, Todd graduated from North Smithfield High School in 1971 and worked a handful of part-time jobs before taking a position in the clerk’s office in 1986. Though it’s not unusual for employees to work for several municipalities over the course of their careers, bouncing from town to town as new positions become available, Todd spent her entire town government career in North Smithfield, taking the job of deputy clerk in 1987. In 2001, she was appointed town clerk, a position she held for the next 18 years.

As clerk, she oversaw all the town’s record-keeping, from the mundane details of daily governance to the more exciting debates that played out at town meetings. She was a regular at Town Council meetings, and for those who visited the Annex looking for personal records or public documents, she was a regular presence, usually ready to do a little digging to see what could be found. In a community that lacked a separate board of canvassers manager, the job also involved overseeing elections and ensuring changes in leadership went smoothly.

“It’s had its ups and downs, but I’ve met an awful lot of nice people,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job, she said, involved probate work. In North Smithfield, the town clerk also serves as probate clerk, giving her a front-row seat to the changes of ownership and family dynamics spelled out in wills over the years.

“It’s just interesting to see what happens with all the people,” she said.

Replacing Todd as town clerk is Lillian Silva Scott, a former employee of the town of Cumberland who was officially appointed to the position by the Town Council last month. Scott, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, started work with the town on Aug. 26 and has spent the past two weeks working closely with Todd as she transitions into the role.

Todd wasn’t the only one to retire this year. Former Recording Clerk Connie Klockars also retired from a long career in the clerk’s office in July and stopped by to wish her former coworker well, as did former Town Clerk Joan Mowry, who retired in 2001. The three worked together for many years and shared one last laugh together on Friday.

“One day at a time, and do what you want,” Mowry told the new retirees. “Get up when you want, do what you want.”

In typical character, Todd resisted the attention, but offered a few brief remarks for the visitors who crowded her small office.

“Truly I appreciate all of you, you’ve all been very helpful,” she said.

So what does the new retiree plan to do in her retirement?

“Immediately, nothing,” she said. “Get back to playing golf. Do a little bit of traveling.”


Debra Todd Truly was concerned for the people of North Smithfield. Thank you for your service