New West Newbury town clerk takes the reins

MIKE SPRINGER/Staff photoJames Blatchford, the new town clerk in West Newbury.

WEST NEWBURY — Residents will find a new face greeting them in the town clerk’s office this fall.

James Blatchford was hired in August to fill the post left vacant by Michael McCarron, who retired.

In a recent interview, Blatchford praised his predecessor, who he described as having served “with distinction” as town clerk and town counsel for a decade.

“I’m coming into the role of someone whose shoes will be hard to fill, to say the least,” Blatchford said.

Because he was hired solely as town clerk, Blatchford said he hopes to bring a different level of focus to day-to-day operations, with more concentration on tasks such as business certificates, vital records and annual elections.

“One area I will be paying special attention to is helping to increase the level of customer service the town clerk’s office will bring to the people of West Newbury,” he said. “With my prior work experience both in the public and private sector — but especially over the last year and a half working full time for the City of Haverhill through the COVID and the 2020 election — I know the level of work expected out of a busy office and I hope to bring that same level of energy and enthusiasm here to West Newbury.”

Blatchford earned a bachelor of arts degree from UMass-Lowell with concentrations in history and political science in 2018. He is pursuing a master’s degree in public policy. He is a justice of the peace and a notary public.

From December 2019 to last month, he worked as the assistant city clerk in Haverhill, where he served as election administrator for 21 precincts and more than 60,000 residents. He recruited, trained and supervised over more than election staff members; implemented the largest vote-by-mail program in the city’s history; and supervised all post-election processes — all while functioning under COVID-19 safety protocols.

Prior to that role, Blatchford was the office administrative assistant in Haverhill, where he said he increased the social media presence of the city clerk’s office, more than doubling its interaction, engagement and likes.

He was a legislative aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 2½ years and previously worked as a business development specialist for a company in Lowell.

Blatchford used grants to create a micro transportation system, according to his resume. He worked for a year and half as a polling supervisor for Blue Sun Campaigns in Boston; and spent three years as an auditor and guest services representative at Courtyard by Marriott in Andover.

From 2012 to 2018, Blatchford participated in a variety of community-based activities for the City of Lawrence, his resume states.

He also served as chair of the Lawrence Community Development Advisory Board, and was vice chair of Lawrence’s Planning Board and School Committee.

He also served as the co-chair for Lawrence Mayor-elect Daniel Rivera’s transition team.

Christine Marshall was hired at the same time as Blatchford and will work as assistant town clerk.

The new town clerk can be reached at 978-363-1100, ext. 110, or townclerk@wnewbury.org.

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