FALMOUTH — When they get to talking, it’s hard to believe the new town clerk, Ellen Planer, and her soon-to-be-deputy clerk, Carol Kloth, haven’t known each other forever.
Planer said Monday their personalities and approaches to their jobs are similar – both like change and learning new things, they think alike and share many of the same goals.
Soon they will get the chance to test that compatibility when Kloth begins her new duties as deputy on Jan. 12.
Planer has worked at Town Hall for the past three years. Hired as a deputy tax collector, she was promoted two years ago to an executive assistant.
Last fall, after former Clerk Kathleen Babeu left, Planer was appointed interim clerk by Town Manager Nathan Poore. She plunged right into election season, learning on the job and on the go.
“My extent of elections was going and voting myself,” she said. “(The election) was crazy and fun and I was really glad when it was over, but I can say it was fun now that it’s over.”
Planer took to her interim duties so well that Assistant Town Manager Amy Lamontagne said there were no issues at all with her abilities.
This month Planer was rewarded with the offer of the permanent position of clerk “based on the excellent work she did during elections and on her interest in the job,” Lamontagne said.
Planer sat in on Kloth’s interview when Lamontagne and Town Manager Nathan Poore questioned candidates for the deputy clerk position. She said she was impressed when she heard Kloth’s views on streamlining and ways to increase efficiencies in the department.
“There’s nothing we would want our employees to do the we can’t do ourselves,” Planer said. “We’re both hands on.”
Through the years, Kloth, a communications supervisor with the Falmouth Police Department, has demonstrated that philosophy by working every Christmas and many nights and weekends to give those under her a chance to be home with their families. For 22 years, she has worked as a dispatcher, with only a six-week hiatus 20 years ago to try her hand as a commercial mortgage loan underwriter.
But after that short stint of pursuing a career related to her business degree, Kloth returned to dispatch, which she said she loved the pace and variety.
Though she said she’ll miss it, Kloth has recently restructured her priorities.
“I started to put my family first. I had always put work first because that’s easiest,” she said. “I’m looking for new challenges, but I’ll still be dealing with the townspeople because I absolutely adore them.”
Kloth will be taking some training in vital records, elections, excise tax and dog licenses, but Lamontagne said it would go quickly.
“It won’t be a huge learning curve,” she said. “By March she’ll be in a very good place.”
Town Hall’s gain is the Police Department’s loss. Falmouth Police Chief Edward Tolan said Monday that Kloth is “an outstanding employee and a wonderful person.” While he said he understands her reasons for leaving, it doesn’t make it any easier to see her go.
“She’s been a tremendous asset to me,” he said.