Annie Tibbetts, top left, Heather Wheeler, Rachel Meader, top center, Amanda Wheeler, Clarissa-Jean Herrin, seated right, and Kelley Hutchins pose for a portrait Nov. 6 at the Mount Vernon town office. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

MOUNT VERNON — “I must have raised them right.”

That’s what Rachel Meader, the former Mt. Vernon town clerk, said of her daughters, Molley Robinson, Annie Tibbetts and Heather Wheeler, the latter two of which served under her as deputies when she was town clerk.

The Meader family’s line of town office workers doesn’t stop there, however. Heather Wheeler’s two daughters, Clarissa-Jean Herrin and Kelley Hutchins, both worked as deputies in Mt. Vernon. Herrin left the position to work in the Fayette Town Office, but left that position four years ago after the birth of her son.

Now, Annie Tibbetts is a deputy town clerk in Farmington and town clerk in Vienna, while Heather Wheeler is the town clerk in Mt. Vernon.

Heather Wheeler regularly works in the office with her daughter-in-law, Amanda Wheeler, capping three generations and six women in municipal government spanning towns from western Kennebec County and into Franklin County.

Meader, 74, of Vienna, said she began in 1979 as a municipal employee in Chesterville, where the family had a chicken farm. After working there, the family moved to Vienna, where she was a selectman for five years before becoming the town’s tax collector.

Meader left the position in 2000 to become a deputy clerk in Mt. Vernon, eventually becoming the town clerk in 2002. Along the way, she deputized and trained her daughters and granddaughters, some of whom went off and joined other towns’ staffs, like Herrin did to become a deputy clerk in Fayette.

“Of course, as soon as she was good and trained, she went to Fayette,” Meader said. “They had benefits over there, so she was really getting a good position.”

Wheeler said Herrin was largely recognized as one of the youngest municipal employees in the state when the family would attend municipal courses. Meader said the family would often attend the classes together and eventually were recognized as a family of municipal workers.

Meader, who is referred to as “Ma” by her family and other town residents, said she stayed in Mount Vernon for about 20 years. She said she stayed so long because she enjoyed interacting with the town’s citizens every day.

“Every day is different and you always have people,” Meader said. “I love being with people.”

For a period, she was working alone in Mt. Vernon. Then with a looming election, Meader said she would hire the next person through the door. The next person through the door was her eventual granddaughter-in-law Amanda Wheeler, who still serves as deputy clerk for the town.

Amanda Wheeler, left, Kelley Hutchins, Clarissa-Jean Herrin, Annie Tibbetts, Heather Wheeler and Rachel Meader pose for a portrait Nov. 6 at the Mount Vernon town office. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Meader said her daughters and granddaughters were “the most honest people” and made great municipal employees.

“I knew if I dropped $100 on the floor they would pick it up and give it back to me,” she said. “They were dependable, they were good kids.”

Her third daughter, Molley Robinson, did not follow in the footsteps of her mother, and works as a physical therapist.

Heather Wheeler, 56, said she worked as a deputy clerk in Chesterville as well. She said she started working in town offices to do something different after homeschooling her children.

“I love the people and the challenges it brings every day,” she said. “I work with really great people, the selectman and stuff. Everybody gets along. I just love that.”

Herrin, 36, said she began working in the Mt. Vernon town office with her grandmother when she was 18.

“I really cherished the time actually,” she said. “It was really fun to learn from her.”

Herrin said that she enjoyed the job because she is “a nerd.”

“I really like paperwork,” she laughed. “I have a problem chatting. I like to chat and I just like people.”

Along with Amanda Wheeler, Heather Wheeler said that Kelley Hutchins and Rachel Meader are still deputized if they need coverage at the town office.

Mac Hardy, the chairperson of the Mt. Vernon Selectboard, said he worked with Rachel Meader in 2011 and 2012, and oversaw the transition from her to Amanda Wheeler more recently. Hardy said all members of the family have performed well at their town office positions in Mt. Vernon.

“They’ve always been relatively easy to work with and they’ve always done the job and done the job well,” Hardy said. “A perfect example is the coordinating they went through in the election, where we had 1,100 voters. They coordinated it all and pulled it off remarkably well.”


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