Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

January 1, 2013

Franklin County clerk retires

MALONE — Her father worked for the railroad, her mother was a homemaker, her older sister was a secretarial-school graduate, and her twin brother was headed to college.

“I always thought I’d be a secretary, and I always liked people,” said Wanda Murtagh. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I started taking Civil Service tests because I wanted to stay in the area.”

And stay she did — for 47 years.

Murtagh retired from public service Monday as the first and only woman ever elected to serve as Franklin County clerk.

Standing by her dining-room table, she unfurled a scroll several times longer than she is tall, a gift presented at her retirement dinner that details her many career accomplishments.

The list included securing more than $750,000 in grant funds, starting a satellite office for the Department of Motor Vehicles, modernizing and digitizing pistol permits, passports and other crucial documents, partnering with the Real Property Tax Office on geographic-information-system technology, streamlining county-wide roster-card files for all public employees for the Personnel Office and moving all of the county’s genealogical records to one secure site.

BURDEN SHARED

The achievement she is most proud of is the place that she had envisioned and brought to fruition through hard work and a dedicated staff — a room that was recently dedicated as the Wanda D. Murtagh Records Management Center, where all the county’s critical documents are kept.

She also spearheaded the county’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2008 and oversaw creation of a permanent display case in the Main Street lobby of the County Courthouse where exhibits of local history are there to enjoy.

And during tough financial times, Murtagh convinced legislators to collect user fees the county was entitled to receive as a way to increase revenue through filing charges and DMV transactions.

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