Beginning Christmas Eve, Nunda Village clerk Merilee Walker will be replaced by deputy clerk Lori Gray – who will be temporarily replaced by village clerk Merilee Walker.


Starting Jan. 15, 1980, Walker was the village’s part-time deputy clerk and treasurer. Five years, almost to the day, Walker became the full-time clerk/treasurer.

Beginning Christmas Eve, Nunda Village clerk Merilee Walker will be replaced by deputy clerk Lori Gray – who will be temporarily replaced by village clerk Merilee Walker.


Starting Jan. 15, 1980, Walker was the village’s part-time deputy clerk and treasurer. Five years, almost to the day, Walker became the full-time clerk/treasurer.


“I consider it a blessing to work in your own community,” she said of her overall 30-year career.


“The people were the important part of the job to me.”


Walker said the people will be what she will miss the most, and that when you are truly a public servant, “you’re not working for the money.”


Walker noted that one of the biggest changes over the past three decades was the incorporation of computers on the job and more demands put on the clerks from the state.


Until about a year ago, the Village offices were located on 1 Mill St. Having an office on the village’s main four-corners was interesting, she said, because of the people who would stop in off the street that needed help.


“People who were lost ... people having a heart attack and needed the ambulance ... or you witnessed a car accident out front.”


She once had someone come in and give himself up. “He probably thought he was in the police department,” she said, which had offices elsewhere in the same building.


Being clerk takes a lot of people skills, Walker noted, and that over the past 30 years, she lost her temper once when someone accused her of being dishonest.


That’s not including the time she lost her temper after the village had to turn someone’s water off and the irate water customer came to her house, screamed at her and later vandalized her home.


Another memorable moment was about two years ago when lightning hit the Mill Street building.


“I never heard such racket, it was like the place had exploded.”


The lightning hit a CB radio antenna atop the building that was no longer in use. The fire alarms went off although there was no fire, and she felt the static in her seat.


A flash flood that ran through Nunda and a few neighboring towns several years ago was another memorable experience.


The reservoir was in danger of bursting, she said, and it ruined a lot of property, roads and sluice pipes, plus some people could not get out of their homes.


“It was really, really unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Walker recalled.


On a more cheerful note, having been village clerk was not her only duties serving the community for the past 30 years. Walker has also been the secretary and vice chair for Oakland Wesleyan Church; is Oakwood Cemetery secretary/treasurer; on the Nunda Fun Days committee; Nunda Chamber past president and past treasurer; is the Nunda Yard Sales chair and for her many efforts was named Nunda Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.


When asked what prompted her to become so involved, she said she is “just somebody who likes something to do for my community,” and that, “it sure isn’t for the money you don’t get paid.”


She also said that the community has been supportive toward her during bad times and, “it means a lot.”


As far as stepping down after 30 years, she said that it was due to a New York state incentive program that added a month toward early retirement for each year she worked. That’s 28 years, which equates to 28 months she can retire ahead of schedule.


During the past three decades, Walker has worked alongside five mayors. “They’ve all been wonderful people to work with, just wonderful.”


Working in the office adjacent to her for the past year in the Nunda Government Center has been Cindy Essler, Nunda town clerk.


Essler said they have had a lot of laughs together, and “I love her to death.”


Helping to make the changeover smooth for incoming clerk Lori Gray, as well as helping she and new board members with the task of learning the budget process, Walker will be coming back — effective Christmas Eve — on a part-time basis for the next several months.


Gray has been the deputy clerk for three and a half years.


Essler commended Gray, noting that she is very professional, personable and “I think she’ll do a nice job.”


Gray said she is “very excited about the opportunity” to take over as clerk, and is happy to serve the community in a new way.


Regarding working alongside Walker, Gray commented, “it’s been an honor,” and she will be missed.