The Day

Norwich city clerk to retire, assistant will take over in July


Norwich — Veteran City Clerk Betsy Barrett will retire in July after spending nearly 30 years in the profession during tenures in Lisbon and Norwich.

On Monday, the City Council voted unanimousl­y to name Assistant City Clerk Roseanne Muscarella as new city clerk beginning July 19. She will serve through Dec. 4, the council’s regular date for appointing or reappointi­ng a city clerk.

Barrett, 63, started her career as the elected town clerk in her hometown of Lisbon in November 1993. She served 18 years there before being hired by the Norwich City Council in December 2011 for the appointed city position. Barrett said she submitted her retirement effective July 19.

“It’s time,” Barrett said Friday. “In 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and there’s more changes coming with the new election laws.”

Barrett thanked the mayors and City Council members she worked with for their support and confidence in her over the years. The City Council appoints a city clerk every two years following each municipal election.

Barrett said the COVID-19 pandemic brought the biggest challenge. As an essential service, with limited staffing, the city clerk’s office remained open for vital document processing such as marriage and death certificat­es, property transactio­ns, even dog licenses and became even busier with the large increase in absentee ballot requests for elections. The office also handled the Election Day registrati­ons in 2020.

She said the office would be considered an essential service again if another pandemic hits. The office now has Barrett, Muscarella and three records clerks, the third one a new addition after repeated requests for additional staffing.

“I love what I do, but it’s time for someone else to take over,” Barrett said, “and for me to spend time with my family.”

She and her husband, Stephen, have a grown son, Daniel, and a grandson, Mason, all living in Lisbon.

Barrett called Muscarella “a great asset” to the city, and said Norwich is “blessed” to have her.

“She’s hard-working, loyal, dedicated,” Barrett said. “She lives in the city. She’s honest, intelligen­t, a good decision maker. What it takes to be a clerk. You’re dealing with a whole bunch of different agencies, and you’re the hub for it all.”

Muscarella, 61, has worked in the Norwich city clerk’s office since 2002 and has been assistant city clerk since 2010. She grew up in Norwich. She initially was certified by the Connecticu­t City Clerk’s Associatio­n in 2008 and earned her master’s degree through the associatio­n in 2017.

“I am excited and honored,” Muscarella said. “I’m grateful that they are giving me the position,” Muscarella said.

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