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As the chief election official of a town and the keeper of permanent and vital records, the Town Clerk is the custodian of the past and a link to the future. The clerk works for, and reports to, the state and the residents of the town, not the Selectmen. While the duties of Town Clerks are largely defined by Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) and regulations, they vary slightly for each community.

Record Keeping

The Town Clerk is the official custodian of Town Meeting votes and vital records dating back for two centuries. She records and certifies all official actions of the town and is the keeper of the town seal. The Town Clerk also performs genealogical research and is responsible for the town census.


The Town Clerk serves as Chief Election Officer for the town. She is responsible for all elections and census work, as well as  voter registration and absentee ballots. She prepares ballots, voting equipment, and voter lists, certifies nomination papers and initiative petitions, and reports official election results to the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also oversees the polling place and the conduct of all elections and election-related activity. And she supplies nomination papers to people who wish to run for office in town.

Town Meetings

The Town Clerk records and certifies Town Meeting votes; sends accepted bylaws and zoning ordinances to the Attorney General’s office for approval; assists the Moderator in scheduling, preparing for, and conducting the meetings; and, in the absence of the Moderator, presides over the Town Meeting until an interim moderator can be approved by the assembled voters.

Town Reports, Meeting Notices and Minutes

The Town Clerk prepares the Town Clerk Report and Board of Registrars Reports for the Annual Town Report and receives and files meeting notices and minutes of all town boards and committees.

Town Officials

The Town Clerk administers oaths of office and maintains appointments and resignations of all officials in Hawley. The Clerk bears the responsibility to ensure compliance with the State Open-Meeting Law and Conflict of Interest Law and to make sure that all public meetings of government entities are posted.

Vital Statistics, Licenses, and Permits

The Town Clerk issues, and maintains records relating to, a variety of State and Town Licenses, Permits and Certificates, including dog licenses, death certificates, marriage licenses, and business licenses. Record Keeping The Town Clerk records and certifies all official actions of the town, including Town Meeting legislation and appropriations. She sells raffle permits for $10.

Information Source

The Town Clerk acts as an Information Source about town departments and to the general public regarding all federal, state, and local regulations and town bylaws, rules, and regulations, as well as serving as Custodian of all Town Records. The Town Clerk can produce voter lists on demand. She also provides copies of the town bylaws, either digital or printed. The digital version is free; a printed copy costs $5.

Records Access Officer

In compliance with the Massachusetts Records Law, Hawley has a Records Access Officer and an Alternate, and maintains a procedure whereby members of the public can gain access to public records.  Here is a guide to that process. The Records Access officer is our Town Clerk, Donna Lemoine; her alternate is Gal Friday Tinky Weisblat. If you have questions about Records Access in Hawley, please use this email address.

There is a $25 per hour fee for large search requests. Printed copies of Town Bylaws cost $5; digital copies are free. The Clerk charges 10 cents per page for copying records.

Hawley’s new valuation software includes a Public Access Database for property records, valuations, and the like.

Use the Database

Hawley Town Clerk, Donna Desmarais Lemoine

Contact Donna via email by clicking here. Or call and leave a message for her at 413 339-5518. Donna holds office hours at the Town Office on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment.

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