After 12 years in office, combing through thousands of pages of town documents, town of Taos Clerk Renee Lucero has decided to step down following the 2018 Taos municipal elections.
Best known for fulfilling records requests, Lucero has been with the clerk's office since 2005. Her workload includes searching for documents, recording town council meetings and certifying candidates in elections past.
After two years of eligibility for retirement and nearly 30 years with the town, Lucero said it was definitely time to step aside and let someone else take the reins. Lucero said her favorite part of the job was serving the public with their records needs. She said she will miss the position as she takes her first steps into retirement.
"I think I'll probably always miss it," Lucero said. "I'm ready to be more available for my (younger) son's sports and my older son's wedding."
Lucero's retirement took effect after canvassing of the election vote tallies. She said the decision came after the past few years when she considered leaving as soon as she was eligible to take retirement. Lucero agreed to stay on for one more election and decided to make this one her last.
"I used to love elections," she said laughing. "It's time. I'm ready."
The clerk's office is the keeper of records in the town and is responsible for holding and handing out documents to the public when they request them. In addition, Lucero has found herself at a majority of the town's council meetings to tally roll call votes and keep the minutes. At her last meeting, Lucero said she was a bit emotional after so many years sitting behind the desk during so many different administrations' terms in office.
Although many people may not know exactly what the clerk's responsibilities are, Lucero said she was always happy to talk and connect with people to educate them about the government in Taos.
"A lot of times, the public doesn't trust the government," Lucero said. "It's good when you can talk to them about what we really do. I just love dealing with the public."
In addition to her duties at the town's office, Lucero has also served in several positions for the New Mexico Municipal Clerk's Association, including president and vice president.
"Renee has been one of the most diligent people that I have had the pleasure to work with," Taos town councilor Nathaniel Evans said in an email. "She has been very patient and understanding that I was new to many different public procedures and is a great leader and teacher."
While also volunteering in sports and youth activities in the community, Lucero has been training her deputy clerk Francella Garcia to fill in as acting clerk until the town selects a new clerk.
"It's definitely an honor," Garcia said. "Renee has always been a person of integrity, high standards and values. She is going to be missed by many."
Garcia has been deputy clerk for the town since 2009 and is officially certified to fulfill the role of town clerk. She plans on applying for the full-time position while serving as the acting clerk.