CLINTON — Town Manager Earla Haggerty has announced she will retire in the fall after four years as the top administrator in Clinton.

Haggerty, 75, has spent much of her tenure focused on updating town systems and procedures, although her time has not been without controversy.

Haggerty said Tuesday she was proud of the way town staff have taken steps to modernize municipal operations. In recent years, the town got a new computer system, opened a recycling exchange store at the transfer station and the local Lions Club International donated an electronic sign for outside the town office.

The public safety building committee has also begun work to create a 50-year plan for the town’s fire and police stations, and is in the process of building new stations for the two departments.

“I cannot say enough about our department heads,” Haggerty said. “When I got here they were so eager to build their departments and to improve their departments.”

There were some challenging times along the way.


Residents in 2019 pushed back on her firing of then-transfer station director Michael Hachey and some complained Haggerty and selectmen had violated the town charter in some of their communications.

Clinton Town Manager Earla Haggerty, shown at a meeting in 2019, has announced that she will retire in the fall. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Residents also complained about statements in an annual town manager’s report in which she wrote, “Anyone who thinks Clinton is a ‘one-horse town’ needs to put down their beer and get off the front porch.”

Haggerty said Tuesday people have the right to their opinions, even if she doesn’t agree with them.

“I don’t look backward with any animosity at all, I did my job and the chips fell where they may,” Haggerty said. “I’m not trying to stir up controversy because we all have to respect each other at the end of the day with the duties and responsibilities that we have, and I think all the parties are doing that.”

Before coming to Clinton, Haggerty worked several years as finance director for Somerset County before retiring from that position. She started working in Clinton part time as a counter clerk, and then in 2018 became the interim town manager after the previous manager, Pam Violette, retired and moved to Florida.

The position has had some turmoil in past years. In the 1990s, residents voted to eliminate the position altogether and then recreated it in 1999. Then, there was frequent turnover, with eight people in the position over 11 years.


Haggerty last year told Jeffrey Towne, chair of the Board of Selectmen, she would be signing her final contract with the town, and selectmen have begun a search for her replacement. She first planned to retire in 2020, but when the pandemic hit she put it off because she did not want to leave the town in a bad spot.

“That was no time to be leaving a position and leaving the town high and dry,” Haggerty said.

When it comes to next steps, Haggerty, who lives in Clinton, said she is looking forward to having more time to herself. She hopes to travel with her husband and spend time on their boat, and find time to read through her home library. She is not planning to run for office or be appointed to any boards, but expects she will still be involved in town affairs as a resident.

“I will certainly stay informed and maybe volunteer here and there for something because I love Clinton and I have such regard for our department heads, so if I can help I will,” she said.

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