By Judy Garrison
If you look in the Delaware County Directory of County, Town and Village Officials, you will see Janis L. Jacques (pronounced jay-kwees) listed as Town Clerk/Registrar of Vital Statistics/Records Management Officer. As you read on you’ll learn that she performs those offices and more.
First things first: the posted office hours at Town Hall, kept by Janis (and on Friday by Sharon Drew, Deputy Town Clerk) are Monday – Thursday, 6:30 -1:30, Friday, 11-6. Janis asserts that these are the minimum hours they keep, and expresses a willingness to be available at other times by appointment. These hours are designed to allow people with standard working hours to come in for dog and hunting licenses, for instance. Janis makes clear that the old perception of a town clerk processing licenses, and in between sitting and knitting, is emphatically not true of the current role of a town clerk. There is always a very full slate of projects to address, not least of which is preparing motions and resolutions for the Town Councilmen, publishing the extensive minutes of each meeting in a timely manner, handling bills and warrants, and working in concert with the building department, the assessor and the highway department.
Janis prides herself in being largely self-educated in local laws and proper procedure. However, she is certified in records management and in DECALS, a conservation-related program, and is a member both of the Delaware County and New York State Town Clerks Associations. But Janis asserts that she received her real education on the job and soon after starting. In early 1996 there was a huge state audit of the Clerk’s office and Jan used the opportunity to, as she put it, “pick the auditor’s brain—relentlessly.” She has continued through the years to obtain and clarify information and procedures from this same woman.
You’ve heard of a baptism by fire-well it sounds like Janis got her baptism by flood. Freshly in office when the flood of January 1996 besieged Andes, she found herself, as deputy to Bruce Soules, administrator, knee-deep in FEMA paperwork—and for way over a year.
Though Town Clerk is an elected position with a 4-year term, Jan swears she is not political and offers the reminder that she has run as both a Republican and a Democrat, while being enrolled simultaneously as an Independent candidate. Though running in the last election as a Democrat, and with a Hillary Clinton flyer posted behind her desk, Janis asserts that she and Marty Donnelly, the Republican Town Supervisor (and Delaware County Republican committee chair) work very well and effectively together for Andes.
Janis is an Andes girl, born and raised, who went away and returned. She was born over the old bank, now gone, which stood in the garden lot beside “Blink”, the second to last baby delivered by Dr. Wakeman before he retired. She graduated from Andes Central School in 1964, and had originally wanted to become a phys.ed. teacher, but circumstances required that she go right to work out of high school. When living in Rutland, Vermont and Genoa, Ohio (on Lake Erie) she worked in a diversity of settings: lawn mowing, pumping gas in the evening, managing a restaurant, toiling in a Grand Union meat room, and bookkeeping. But the job she enjoyed most was as a trucking dispatcher. She had the good fortune to be trained by friends who were brokers in that field, and she thrived in the demanding, detail-oriented environment.
Janis is very convincing when she contends that this job is a huge piece of her life and that she is virtually always available for Town business. When an inquiry doesn’t fall into her domain she will act as a kind of traffic director, routing people to the assessor, building inspector or code enforcement office (the latter two offices are held by the same person in Andes.) On her time off she loves being outdoors, mowing and weed whacking forever, playing in the woods.
Special Reminders from Janis:
- Town Board meeting minutes are available at the Post Office and library as well as at the Town Clerk’s office.
- The annual sewer rent bills are going out one month later this year due to hardships experienced by many from recent flooding. People will have until August 31st to pay without penalty.
Yes, Janis Lynn Jacques is clerk of the sewer and water districts, too! We’re lucky to have such a knowledgeable and hard-working gal working for us in Andes.~