April 21, 2021 by Laura Winters
For the past 24 years, Eileen McCracken has served our town in the elected position of Town Clerk. An interesting component of the Town Clerk position is that while the position is filled by a local election, it is also a full-time job that operates out of Town Hall. If you've ever needed to file a marriage intention or to obtain a burial license or dog license, you've probably had the pleasure of meeting Eileen. If you have ever run for office in town, Eileen would have been the person who you met when you pulled papers. She has been the election officer for over two decades of elections including six presidential elections. While the Town is certainly sad to see her go, we also wish Eileen the very best in a well-deserved retirement from public service.
Hingham, meet Eileen.
How long have you been Town Clerk?
I’ve been Town Clerk for 24 years and have worked for the Town for 34 years total. Before being elected to Town Clerk, I worked in the Treasurer/Collectors Office.
What inspired you to run for Town Clerk?
I had worked with Tom Hall and his Assistant Lynn Gordon helping with the tallying at the end of the election night which peaked my interest in the position but also knew there was much more to the job. I had seconds thoughts about it but was encouraged to run by my husband, who I was dating at the time, telling me if you don’t try you would always look back and wonder if you would have won. I received over 50% of the vote.
Can you tell us a little bit about your responsibilities as Town Clerk?
The Clerks Office is where everyone begins, usually the place new residents call to find out what they need to do next. We are responsible for records of most aspects of your life. We handle vital records (birth, deaths, and marriages), Dog licenses, dog-walking permits, kennel licenses as well as business certificates and raffles. We collect data through the yearly census to produce a street listing. Will help with genealogy searches. Keep record of all appointments and resignations, administration of the oath of office to all appointed and elected officials. Post all committee meetings, filing and certify of permits and plans processed by the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals. Record votes at Town meeting, report by-law changes to the Attorney Generals Office for approval and add the changes to the by-law. Collect violation for other departments including parking tickets. And of course oversee the State and Town Elections from nomination papers through to reporting the results to the State, everything.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I grew up in Hingham and I like that I still see many of my classmates and people I’ve know for a long time as well as meeting newcomers to the Town. I guess I just like people and being able to help them however I can.
Do you have a least favorite part of your job?
None, even through elections were difficult last year we got it done.
Who do you find to be the most inspiring person in Hingham?
It’s very difficult to name one, there are so many people who dedicate many hours of their time to different projects townwide.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know if it’s a talent but I make papier-mâché figures. They are a lot of fun to make and it keeps me from falling asleep in the chair at night. Also when the police had the annual Family Fun Day I was a clown for them. I would give out stickers and sometimes bracelets to the children. I always had my buddy “Red” with me too.
What is your favorite local spot?
Downtown Hingham is my favorite place especially when there are events. Where else would you want to be than downtown Hingham on the 4th of July! But I have to include the Venetian in East Weymouth (not that far from Hingham). My husband and I have been going there for many years. Old and the new, we know the owners and staff, they feel like family to us. We see many Hingham residents there also enjoying the great atmosphere and food.
What is your favorite restaurant or meal in Hingham?
We frequent both the 99 Restaurant and the Greenside Grille at the County Club and for takeout we love Crow Point!
If you could give one piece of advice to our town's future Town Clerk, what would it be?
Try to make the office as efficient and helpful to the residents as possible. You are the link to the past, present and future of the Town of Hingham!
What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
I haven’t made any plans yet. It will be great to enjoy the Summer months ahead.