PARIS — Oxford County Register of Deeds Cherri Crockett is looking to carry on the preservation work of her predecessor and take on her first big task of merging the Paris and Fryeburg offices.

Crockett, of Bethel, was elected in November to a four-year term and was sworn in Dec. 31. She succeeds Pat Shearman, who retired after serving since 2011.

The state Legislature voted last year to close the Fryeburg registry office and move its contents to Paris. However, two public hearings must be held in each of the towns served by the Fryeburg office, and all record books, maps, plot plans and other documents needed to be accessible to the public, both in person and electronically, according to the legislation.

The towns involved are Hiram, Porter, Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Sweden, Lovell, Stoneham and Stow.

Crockett said one of her goals is to continue informing residents about the purpose and duties of the registry. She said that when she was running for office, people would her for that information.

“We’re not here to give legal advice to anyone, not giving mortgage or discharge advice,” Crockett said. “We’re here to file their papers, preserve them and make sure that someone 50 years from now can look up a deed from the 19th or 20th century and have no problem getting that information.”

The registry is also the county’s “biggest moneymaker,” Crockett said, something she didn’t realize upon being elected.

“Seeing as the registries are a huge moneymaker for counties, you need to make sure that you have someone in there able to take care of the books, financially, and make sure money isn’t being wasted,” Crockett said. “I think I can do that.”

Crockett said she never envisioned holding an elected office.

She said Joe Martin of Rumford, who ran for the Maine House of Representatives two years ago, urged her to run for register of deeds.

“He told me, ‘I think you can do this,’” Crockett said. “It was just a matter of researching what the job entailed and trying to figure out whether I’d be any good at it. I spent time learning the scope of the job.”

As Crockett takes her first steps in the job, she said that she has been looking back at Shearman’s legacy.

“Pat created an amazing footprint of archives and a way to preserve them,” Crockett said. “If I can step into that archival piece without people noticing a difference, that would be huge.”

Crockett said the Oxford County Registry of Deeds is also working on finishing installation of shelving for the Fryeburg office documents.

“We’re anticipating that being done in mid-January,” Crockett said. “We’re planning to have an open house for the public to come and see once it’s finished.”

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