Just over seven months after Lynsey Lenamond provided the town of Jackson with a fairly seamless transition in replacing former Town Clerk Sandy Birdyshaw, staff are now looking for a suitable replacement for the critical town position.
Lenamond, who said it was an incredibly difficult decision to leave a job she coveted, informed town staff — and the Town Council at a recent meeting — that she was leaving to return to Texas to be nearer to family.
“I won’t get super specific but I will say ... I’ve been up there for 12 years, but I’m by myself, and so it was a mutual thing where I needed some support from the family and also because I had been away for so long it was time for me to give some support to the family, as well,” Lenamond said by phone from Central Texas on Tuesday. “I needed some support, and I needed to give them my attention for a little while as well.
“My dream was to have some of my family move up [to Jackson Hole] to support me, but it never happened. So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll come back down to Texas.’ ”
Lenamond is not leaving the town in a lurch, though, as she has agreed to stay on and work remotely while her permanent replacement is identified. She also said she is prepared to return to Jackson for a week to train the new town clerk when a successful candidate comes on board.
“Lynsey is awesome, and we adore her and have always been impressed with her work and her work ethic,” said Public Information Officer Carl Pelletier. “We feel incredibly fortunate that she has agreed to stay on during the transition. We are currently interviewing candidates.”
Pelletier said three “qualified candidates” were interviewed Monday, and more interviews are scheduled from the “several” applications the town has received. He declined to say if a potential replacement has been identified out of the three already interviewed out of respect for the candidates and the process, though he did note that everyone being interviewed out of the applicant pool is qualified. Neither Pelletier nor Lenamond would speculate on when they expect to have a new town clerk on board.
“The sooner, the better, for all of the different parties, if just for the simple fact that we’d like to get someone in here in training,” Pelletier said. “Lynsey, she’s awesome, and the fact that she’s doing this remotely, I’m sure it’s not the easiest. The easiest thing for her would be to cut ties and find a job down there and kick butt at it. So I think the sooner, the better, would be great for her and would be great for us.”
Pelletier, who previously filled in for a few months handling town clerk duties when the town had a void in the position, and Assistant Town Manager Roxanne Robinson, who also previously held the town clerk post and is familiar with its many demands, will handle anything locally that Lenamond isn’t able to do remotely. Pelletier said that is a minute amount of the work and will include such things as bid openings, catering permits and cemetery certificates, among some other duties.
Lenamond said that like many town staff positions, the town clerk role is really the job of two people, but she said it was her “dream” when she moved to Jackson 12 years ago to have a job “at the heart of the community,” so the move for her is bittersweet.
“It’s been pretty heartbreaking for me; the need to take a break,” Lenamond said. “I’m trying to look at this [positively], like I’m getting to be here with my family, but it’s heartbreaking to leave my home, also.”