Charlie Gibson, Colleen Whelden Vying To Become Next Superior Court Clerk

David Creed •

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Charlie Gibson, deputy chief of the Nantucket Police Department, and Colleen Whelden, the office manager of the Nantucket Superior Court office, will square off this fall in the race for the Superior Court clerk's position.

When island voters head to the polls in November, one of the several races that will be decided is the race for the Nantucket Superior Court clerk position.

There will be two names for voters to consider: Nantucket Deputy Police Chief Charlie Gibson, who is running as an independent, and Nantucket Superior Court office manager Colleen Whelden, who is running as a Democratic candidate, according to the town clerk’s office.

Gibson declined to comment Tuesday about his campaign. The longest-tenured officer on the island, Gibson has been with the Nantucket Police Department since 1982. He attended Roger Williams University – where he earned a pair of bachelor’s degrees in public administration and administration of justice. Gibson also earned his law degree through Roger Williams University’s School of Law.

He is the husband of Nantucket town manager Libby Gibson. If elected, it would mean Gibson's retirement from NPD after more than four decades with the department.

Whelden has worked in the Nantucket Superior Court Clerk's Office since March 2014. She was originally hired to an entry-level position of case specialist before working her way up to her current position as office manager.

“I enjoy working with and for the people of Nantucket County,” Whelden told the Current Tuesday evening. “People typically come to our office in the courthouse to resolve a dispute in a civil case or to defend themselves in a criminal proceeding. I appreciate the human side of the experience of walking through our office door as well as the door to the courtroom. They often have a lot at stake, and it can be quite a stressful experience.”

Whelden said if she is elected, she will continue to assist the residents of Nantucket with the procedural aspect of their business with the court.

“My goal is to continue to serve all of the residents of Nantucket County that seek assistance and provide them with equal access to justice,” Whelden said. “Although a day in court is rarely the highlight of anyone's week, it is my hope that when people leave the courthouse they feel as though they were attentively listened to and treated with respect.”

The clerk position has been held by Mary Adams since 2010, however, Adams announced earlier this year that she would not be seeking reelection after 14 years as clerk, and nearly 20 years in the Superior Court office. 

“I have had an amazing mentor for the last 10 years,” Whelden said of Adams. “I certainly have some big shoes to fill.”

Adams has worked in the court since 2005 and was appointed to the clerk's position in 2010 to complete the term of outgoing clerk Pat Church. She was elected to the post in 2012 and again in 2018.

"I love the courtroom, loved the jurors and the trials, even though we only have two sessions per year," Adams told the Current in March. "I think I loved the fact too that on Nantucket, everybody does other duties as assigned and something different from their counterparts on the mainland. I'm so blessed by the people of Nantucket that they let me do this over and over again."

The deadline to file nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was May 28.

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