County Clerk to retire on Jan. 30 from ‘dream job’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Karen Lake-Maynard, the Orleans County clerk the past 14 years, is retiring on Jan. 30. She has worked 30 years at the County Clerk’s Building, 3 South Main St. She started as an index clerk.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2020 at 5:14 pm

ALBION – Orleans County Clerk Karen Lake-Maynard has announced she is retiring on Jan. 30 after 14 years as the county clerk and 30 years in the clerk’s office.

She started as an index clerk and was promoted to deputy county clerk under Carol Lonnen. When Lonnen retired, Lake-Maynard was elected to succeed her.

“It’s been a dream job,” Lake-Maynard said today from her office at the County Clerk’s Building next to the County Courthouse. “It’s been a pleasure to serve Orleans County.”

Lake-Maynard will be leaving with two years on her term. Diane Shampine, the deputy county clerk, will serve as acting county clerk until the position is up for election in November (unless the governor calls for a special election before then).

Karen Lake-Maynard is shown with some of the index books that list records going back nearly two centuries.

Lake-Maynard of Medina said she was inspired by her father, the late Howard Lake, to pursue a career in public service. Her father was an Orleans County undersheriff and later a Medina village and Ridgeway town justice. Her brother Howard also was Medina’s mayor.

The county clerk oversees 10 employees, including six at the Department of Motor Vehicles at the County Administration Building on Route 31 and four employees at the County Clerk’s Building on Main Street.

Shampine is the deputy county clerk at the Clerk’s Building while Pamela Boyer is deputy county clerk for DMV.

Lake-Maynard said Shampine has the experience to “hit the ground running” without any disruption in the office.

“The county is in good hands with her,” Lake-Maynard said.

The next clerk will have to go through the political process. The Orleans County Republican Party Committee will meet this Thursday to hear from candidates for the position. Nadine Hanlon, clerk of the County Legislature, also is interested in succeeding Lake-Maynard.

The current county clerk said she has strived to lead a user-friendly DMV and clerk’s office. The DMV staff will try to make an extra phone call or offer assistance to fill out forms so people don’t have to make multiple trips to the office, Lake-Maynard said.

The Clerk’s Building has records going back nearly two centuries, including property deeds since 1830. The office is the keeper of filing deeds, mortgages, leases, assignments, discharges, maps, census records, ag districts, business certificates, judgments, federal tax liens, military discharges, naturalization records, inquests, separation agreements and divorce decrees for the entire county.

Those records have all been digitized, and the office has made records increasingly available online.

Lake-Maynard often is at the front counter at the clerk’s office, responding to people’s requests. In recent years, she said many people exploring their genealogy visit the office or send emails looking for information on their families.

Since July 2017, the County Clerk’s Office also has handled pistol permit applications and recertifications. That process was handled by the county judge’s chambers before the change 2 1/2 years ago.

Lake-Maynard said she is proud of the “Thank A Vet” program that she and the office started in 2011. Many local businesses agreed to be in the program offering discounts to local veterans. Lake-Maynard said 400 to 500 veterans have signed up for the program.

“It’s bittersweet,” Lake-Maynard said about her impending retirement. “It’s been a great ride and I’ve had a staff that is second to none.”

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