2018-05-18 / Front Page

Town clerk wins state award

Special to the Post


Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, left, poses with Kennebunk Town Clerk Merton Brown following presentation May 9 of the Lorraine M. Fleury Award, given for “significant contribution to the election process.” (Courtesy photo) Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, left, poses with Kennebunk Town Clerk Merton Brown following presentation May 9 of the Lorraine M. Fleury Award, given for “significant contribution to the election process.” (Courtesy photo) Kennebunk Town Clerk Merton Brown has been named the winner of the 2017 Lorraine M. Fleury Award.

The presentation was made to Brown by Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap during the Maine State Elections Administration Conference, held May 9 at the Sunday River complex in Newry.

Each year, the secretary of state solicits nominations for the prestigious award, named for long-time state Director of Elections Lorraine M. Fleury. The department presents the award to recognize and honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the election process and who exemplifies the qualities of fairness, experience, knowledge and service.

“The integrity and efficiency of the election process depends almost entirely on the devoted service of municipal elections officials,” Dunlap said. “It’s always a challenge to single any one of them out, but the acknowledgement and praise from co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, and the elected officials who also serve our communities makes this an incredibly gratifying process.”

Brown has more than 44 years of election experience, which, Dunlap noted, he has shared with many other clerks through workshops and personal mentoring. Nominations for Brown, Dunlap said, noted that he “has a positive, thoughtful attitude” and “is an endless source of information and inspiration to his fellow clerks and voters, making sure their voices are heard.”

That Brown would win such accoladed may not be surprising, considering he has been a fan of the municipal process since age 12, when he attended his first town meeting in his native Bethel. Brown won appointed as town clerk for Bethel in 1975 and logged 21 years there before moving to Kennebunk in 1996. He then worked various jobs in the Kennebunk clerk’s office until winning election to the top job in 2014. The post later became an appointed position.

“I am delighted that Merton was recognized outside of our town,” said Dick Morin, chairman of the board of selectmen, in a May 10 email. “We all know of his dedication, commitment to the betterment of the community as demonstrated through his expanded hours during elections, his commitment to outreach for those unable to vote in person and the preparation and information he shares leading up to elections.

“Add to these great initiatives the work done at the various Waterhouse Center functions, the preparation and guidance afforded the selectboard at each and every meeting, and the open and friendly service provided over the counter at town hall, and we hit the trifecta,” Morin said. “Merton is the most recent and well deserved ‘star’ at the Kennebunk Town Hall. We are blessed in this town to have superstar employees who work diligently to make our lives more productive and comfortable each and every day.”

In a prepared statement, Town Manager Michael Pardue added, “On behalf of the town of Kennebunk, I am extremely proud of this significant accomplishment and recognition of Merton’s service to his profession and town.”

Brown currently serves as president of the York County Clerk’s Association and has organized voter registration drives at the local high school and extended office hours at the town office for residents so they would have an opportunity to register to vote.

Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington. He can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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