Heather Kelly, Rensselaerville town clerk candidate

Heather Kelly

RENSSELAERVILLE — Despite losing a Democratic nomination and a faulty petition to get on the ballot, Heather Kelly, the town’s deputy clerk for two years, is running as a write-in candidate for her mentor’s position as town clerk. Democrat Kathleen Hallenbeck is retiring after decades in the post.

Kelly said she would continue many of Hallenbeck’s practices as town clerk.

“I enjoy meeting the townspeople, having them come in, and being able to answer their questions and assist them,” said Kelly of her bid to continue. She has held jobs as a health-care receptionist and as a bank teller.

Having grown up in Rensselaerville, Kelly, 36, is proud of the rural community’s rich history but acknowledges the town should stay updated with technology. She said she has computerized sewer and water bills that Hallenbeck used to write by hand.

“If I was elected, one of the first things I would do is purchasing digital-recording equipment,” said Kelly. “I think it preserves information better. From there, you’re able to produce more complete minutes.” Hallenbeck currently uses micro-cassette tapes, re-using them after four months, she said. Kelly hopes to keep digital recordings of town meetings permanently.

Of Rensselaerville’s history, Kelly said she values teaching the town’s children and passing on its culture. She is a deacon with the Preston Hollow Baptist Church and superintendent of its Sunday school.

This is Kelly’s first candidacy for town election. She is not affiliated with a political party.

 “I feel like party lines have become meshed together in this town,” said Kelly. “As far as candidates are concerned, it’s apparent candidates can flip-flop from one party to another. Nobody seems to be expressing their true beliefs as far as politics go,” she said of the cross endorsements of some Rensselaerville candidates.

Kelly said she collected enough signatures on her petition for a primary after she didn’t win Democratic endorsement, but it was disqualified by the board of elections for having the wrong heading format and because the signers’ addresses included hamlets, but not the town.

In addition to being deputy town clerk, Kelly is bonded, is able to make bank deposits for the town, and is a registrar of vital statistics. She is an Albany County Civil Service Senior Keyboard Specialist and has a state notary public commission.

“It’s not required for the office of town clerk,” Kelly said of being a notary, “but, if you don’t have it, you’re going to be sending people away a lot.”

Kelly said she would keep the same hours as Hallenbeck: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, 1:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, and during a few Saturdays during tax season.