When Nasewaupee voters go to the polls next Tuesday, the person whom they’ve elected as their town treasurer for the past 52 years won’t be on the ballot.
Nasewaupee’s switch from an elected to appointed treasurer will become official when the annual town meeting is held April 18, and Carol Russell will retire upon leaving the elected office.
She was first elected the town’s treasurer as a write-in candidate in 1971.
“Nobody else was running, and I got it as a write-in, and ever since, [I’ve] just been elected, reelected,” she said. “Every two years, I had to be reelected. I think I had competition one time in the 52 years.”
When asked about what has changed for her as town treasurer since she first took office, Russell said it’s mostly been tax collections.
“When I first started, people would pay in person, rather than sending it through the mail,” she said.
Russell said one of her memorable experiences as town treasurer was when a taxpayer, who was “a little under the weather,” went to her house, slipped under his car and couldn’t get up.
Liking the work as town treasurer and meeting people, Russell said, kept her wanting to stay in office.
“Most of my job was in the wintertime,” she said. “Although it’s a year-round job, the majority was during tax time. We never went away in the winter, so I was always home. After the holidays, it kind of occupied my time until spring, and then it was just the routine things the rest of the year.”
Nasewaupee voters approved referenda last November to change from electing both the town treasurer and clerk to having the town board appoint people to hold those two positions.
Earlier this month, the town board appointed Christy Herschleb as treasurer. She currently lives in Neenah but is planning to move into a house in Nasewaupee this summer with her husband. Russell said she’ll be meeting with Hershleb prior to her taking over April 18 as the treasurer to help her get started in the position.
“I told her, even after she’s the treasurer and I’m not, that if she runs into any problems, I’d be very glad to help her out,” Russell said.
Russell also said she preferred having voters, rather than just the town board, decide who the treasurer should be, but she understands why the switch was made.
“[Members of the town board] have more control, and they can dictate what they want the treasurer to do,” she said. “[The treasurer] still has to follow state statutes, but they can expand her duties and set her pay and whatever.”
Upon her final term in office ending, Russell said she’ll be spending time at home and looking forward to visits from a grandson who lives nearby.
“My husband has a few health issues, and that takes up some time, so anyway, we get along and make it the best of our later years,” she said.
Russell said she still plans to be on hand for town board meetings after leaving office, but unlike the outgoing clerk, Jill Lau, who is running unopposed for a supervisory seat on the town board, it won’t be as an elected representative of Nasewaupee.
The town board also appointed Nasewaupee resident Donna Wolak to replace Lau as clerk. Lau will be joining a town board that is expanding from three to five members with the addition of two supervisors.
“I’ll be interested to see how the five-person board works,” Russell said. “I’m still very interested in what goes on in our town.”