AUGUSTA — Beverly Bustin-Hatheway, who has served as Kennebec County register of deeds for 19 years, is stepping down with a year left in her current term.

Beverly Bustin-Hatheway Kennebec Journal file

Now 85, Bustin-Hatheway announced her retirement Tuesday at the Kennebec County Commissioners meeting.

“I’m happy and really sad today. I don’t really want to be out of the harness,” Bustin-Hatheway said. “I’d rather be in the harness, but unfortunately, I can’t do it anymore.”

Commissioners appointed Diane Wilson, who has worked at the county deeds office since 1997 and as deputy register since 2011, to serve as acting register for the remainder of the term.

Under state law, commissioners had two options to consider for filling the position. They could submit two candidates to the governor for appointment, which would involve nominations of candidates from the Kennebec County Democratic Committee, or they could appoint someone to serve as acting register for the remainder of the term.

“That one sounds like we could carry on until an election without disrupting everything,” said Patsy Crockett, chairwoman on the Kennebec County commissioners. The commissioners agreed and selected that option.


The commissioners and other elected county officials thanked Bustin-Hatheway for her service.

“Whenever I needed straightened out, you never hesitated to do that,” said Commissioner George Jabber, who represents Waterville and northern Kennebec County. “I appreciated your guidance all these years.”

Diane Wilson Diane Wilson

The Registry of Deeds is a recording agency that handles the land records that establish property ownership for Kennebec County dating back to 1799 when the county was first established.

Bustin-Hatheway last ran for election in 2018, fending off Republican challenger Kristin Clark by a margin of 978 votes. She had been unopposed in earlier elections.

During her time in office, Bustin-Hatheway oversaw the relocation of the office from rented space at One Weston Court to a permanent home at 77 Winthrop St.

The deeds office, which was originally on the ground floor of the Kennebec County Courthouse, moved across State Street to the leased space when it needed more space.


County officials had considered several spaces and options and seemed close to striking a lease/purchase deal with the state of Maine to buy the Augusta District Court building on State Street following a resolve by the Maine State Legislature, authorizing the property to be offered to the county before it was listed for sale.

But when that fell through, Bustin-Hatheway and then-County Administrator Robert Devlin saw a real estate listing for 77 Winthrop St. At that time, it was the Augusta office of Pierce Atwood law firm, which was seeking a different space.

County officials bought the building in March 2016, and the Register of Deeds finished its move in July.

Earlier this year, the county’s Emergency Management office relocated from Hill House, the county government building at 125 State St., to the Winthrop Street building.

Bustin-Hatheway has also overseen the conversion of records to a digital, searchable format.

Before her time in county government, Bustin-Hatheway served from 1980 to 1996 as a state senator representing Augusta. She also worked as a labor union staff representative.

Wilson, 62, said her time with county government started when she filled in at the Kennebec County Treasurer’s Office when someone went on medical leave, and applied for an opening at the Registry of Deeds in 1997 and was hired.

“It’s been a very pleasant experience getting to meet all the public and attorneys, nice people,” Wilson said.

Wilson first came to Maine in 1994 with her husband, who was in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Brunswick. She lives in Litchfield.

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