New Naples town secretary — ‘It’s an honor’

KATE MATTHEWS started her new job as Naples town secretary a month ago. (De Busk Photo)

KATE MATTHEWS started her new job as Naples town secretary a month ago. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — For someone in her early 20s, Kate Matthews has an old-timey habit.

She likes to collect antiques.

She is especially proud of the recent revamping of an antique she got for a steal of a deal.

“I just refinished an old farmer’s table,” Matthews said.

“It’s very long with a butcher block top and nice, sturdy legs. I purchased it for $17.50 at an auction. On-line on Craig’s List, it goes for $600 or more,” she said.

“I stained it to match some chairs I already have,” she said over a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.

Among her other favorite pieces are an old steamer trunk and a turquoise and green Victorian-style couch.

“I prefer the older furniture than the new that you have to put together, and then falls apart,” she said.

The 2008 graduate of Oxford Hills High School spends some of her weekends at antique auctions. Other times, she wanders through the rows of vintage treasures at area shops.

“I love to go antiquing,” she said.

It is a pleasurable pastime — one that she learned from her mother.

Matthews and her mother have another thing in common. Both are employees at a town office.

In mid-August, Matthews accepted the position of Naples secretary.

It was the very same job she had interviewed for in April, which was the same month that she and her boyfriend purchased a home on three acres of farmland in Otisfield.

The position of Naples secretary once again became vacant this summer, when the new hire, Harriet Condon, moved to the bookkeeping department.

The phone call to join the Town of Naples staff “was kind of out of the blue,” Matthews said.

“I felt honored to be asked to take the job,” she said.

“It’s been a big year for me: A new job and a new house,” she said.

Her mom’s job satisfaction prompted Matthews to seek employment with a town office in the first place.

“The reason why I started to look for a municipal job is because ever since I was in elementary school, my mom worked for Town of Otisfield. So, I went into the town office and saw how that was,” Matthews said.

“She really likes her job. She is very happy there,” she said.

So far, it has been lots of smiles and contentment for Matthews.

“It’s been great. All the staff have been very welcoming. The people in the community are very nice,” she said.

Matthews finds that Naples residents are friendly and volunteer-oriented.

“It seems like everybody wants to be involved, which is very, very nice. It is a nice little community,” she said.

Her job duties include acting as secretary for the Naples Planning Board, assisting the code enforcement officer and monitoring the use of town facilities like the gymnasium and the Singer Center.

“People really enjoy that. I think it is nice that the town has something like that for the people — free of charge.

Matthews created an electronic calendar to keep better track of the dates and times and the groups renting the facilities.

“Right now, I have been working with Renee (Carter) our code enforcement officer. I have been learning about septic systems. It is interesting. It looks different on paper than when you’re there — on someone’s property,” she said.

“Once I learn about that, I can answer people’s questions when she is out in the field,” she said.

The more code enforcement questions Matthews can answer the better because Renee “is very, very busy. She will have a line of people at her door, and then the phone will be ringing, too,” she said.

Additionally, Matthews is learning the ropes — assisting with the road commissioner duties.

Matthews’ past experience includes working as an administrative assistant at Center Street Dental in Auburn. Most recently, she worked at MGA Cast Stone in Oxford, where the company creates precasts for big buildings like campus buildings at Harvard and Yale.

In the front office, Matthews said she is getting the hang of things and getting to know people on a first-name basis.

“I have seen a few faces multiple times, and I’m starting to get to know people around here. People have been very welcoming,” she said.

She has explored places to eat around town, too.

“I have been to the different restaurants on the Causeway,” she said.

“I really would like to go to the Blues Festival. I have heard it is great, and look forward to that,” she said.

Matthews recalls visiting Naples as a very young girl.

“I came with my mom. We had a boat. We used to go shopping at SunSports+. I bought a little swimsuit. I was probably 8 years old. I remember going shopping with my mom in all the little shops,” she said.

The new Naples secretary is glad she looked to her mom as a role model when it comes to a line of work.

“Once you get into a job like this one, no one wants to leave. So, that is a good sign,” she said.

“Every town office has a close-knit family. Everyone here has been so nice to me,” Matthews said.

“I feel like I am going to be here for years to come,” she said.

 

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