Whenever she’s not out bike riding, walking or sewing, Anna Bourdon, St. Albans Town’s clerk and treasurer, sits at her desk eager to help residents in need of assistance with anything from paying their taxes to filing homestead declarations.
The Messenger caught up with Bourdon during a busy workday to talk about her life and her 28 years as a public servant.
Read about the time she worked at a radio station, how she landed a job with the town, and her thoughts on St. Albans Town being among the first in the state to take advantage of a new voting law to make town meeting safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Are you originally from St. Albans?
“My grandparents are from Franklin, but my dad was stationed at Plattsburgh Air Force Base so that’s kind of where I grew up, right across the lake in Rouses Point, New York. I moved back here in 1988.”
Q: Where did you go to college?
Bourdon attended Northeastern Clinton Senior High School in Champlain, New York. For college, she attended Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts, where she studied under the business program.
Q: What made you pursue a career in public service?
After becoming a mom, Bourdon says she spent the following years caring for her children up until they were old enough to be in school. Once her children became middle schoolers and became involved in lots of extracurricular activities, Bourdon decided to be involved in that with them too.
“I felt like I didn’t really want to work full-time at that point in their lives,” she said. “So I saw an ad in the paper, the local Messenger, for a lister and I applied for it. It was part-time, which was perfect for me.”
Bourdon went in for an interview in front of the selectboard, got the job, and “the rest is history.” She began working as a lister for the Town of St. Albans in 1993.
For the next 14 years, she worked in the Listers Assessors office until 2007 when she decided to run for town clerk.
However, prior to working for the Town of St. Albans, Bourdon says she spent five years working in sales at WWSR Radio St. Albans.
Q: How different was working at a radio station than as a lister?
“It mimics the same kind of thing because you’re dealing with the public at the radio station but as a lister, as a town clerk, etc, you’re also dealing with the public.”
Q: Tell me about your role as town clerk.
“There is a set of statutes that you have to follow, but it really is answering people’s questions and helping them out with whatever they need as far as tax bills, filing for their homestead declarations so they can get a lower tax rate, more or less listening to what their needs are and pointing them in the right direction if I can’t answer their question.”
Bourdon says that due to the COVID-19 pandemic she is currently only open by appointment.
“There are so many people that used to flow into this office, whether it be looking up deeds and doing research. Now I can only have one in at a time,” she said. ”And as far as people coming in to pay their taxes, so many people would come in ‘cause they enjoy coming in to pay their taxes and now I don’t see anybody, which is unfortunate, and that bothers me ‘cause I miss them.”
Q: What can you tell me about the town being among the first in the state to take advantage of the new voting law?
“I think it’s a good thing, it’s a lot of work don’t get me wrong, but it’s a good thing especially now with COVID,” she said. “My justices of the peace who work the elections are on the senior side, so in order to protect them, protect myself, and protect the citizens I think it’s the way to go.”
Bourdon added that she will still keep the polls open for anybody who wants to go out and vote.