MALONE –– Village Clerk Cheryl Cook will be retiring May 31 after 11 years in her current position.
Cook, who was named to the position in July 2009, will be succeeded by Rebahka Scaccia, who has served as the clerk for the village code enforcement office since October. Cook leaves “some big shoes to fill,” Scaccia said after the Village Board voted to name her as interim clerk beginning next month.
The time between March and June, when she will take over as clerk, will be “an interim period for her to become familiar with the needed work,” Deputy Mayor Archie McKee said.
The village clerk is responsible for maintaining birth and death records, genealogy records, correspondences, and, oftentimes, complaints. The clerk must review funds received and bank transactions, fill out forms required by the state and federal governments, and type official village correspondences. This person is also responsible for attending Village Board meetings, recording meeting minutes and filing those minutes according to village policy.
In addition to her regular duties, Cook was the driving force behind the creation of a display of photos of the mayors and presidents –– as the village leader was known until 1927 –– dating to the beginning of the 20th century. Those photos line the walls in the village office building, which was purchased in 2016.
Scaccia said her duties in the code office are very different from those of the village clerk but she hopes to be up to speed –– with Cook’s help –- by the time the veteran clerk steps down.
Cook served as a Franklin County deputy election commissioner with the county Board of Elections for nine years before taking over the clerk’s position. Since she took on the job, Cook completed a number of professional development programs, becoming a certified municipal clerk and later earning a master municipal clerk designation from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks Inc.
The International Institute of Municipal Clerks, founded in 1947, has 14,000 members throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries; its mission is to enhance the education opportunities and professional development of its diverse membership. When Cook received her MMC designation, she became one of 21 MMCs in New York state.
Among her final actions as clerk, Cook will spearhead an effort to obtain a $150,000 State Archives grant in conjunction with the town of Malone to digitize both municipalities’ birth and death records and the town’s marriage records. The books that hold the records prior to 1976 are falling apart and the grant will help preserve the information, she said.
The municipalities will still be required to keep paper copies of their records, but by digitizing them, officials will be able to access the needed information without having to flip through the books, adding to their wear and tear, she said.
Once she steps down at the end of May, Cook said she plans to spend time with her family and travel.