Estelle Guénot, municipal linchpin

A municipal road to complete the journey from the nearest station, located 8 kilometers away. A small church attached to the cemetery. A town hall near a multi-purpose hall and a city stadium: welcome to Bornambusc, in the Pays de Caux, in Seine-Maritime, thirty-five minutes from Le Havre. It is in this municipality of 259 inhabitants that Estelle Guénot officiates. His job ? Town clerk. A function unknown to the public, sometimes even to elected officials. However, they are at the heart of the proper functioning of municipalities with less than 3,500 inhabitants. “Concretely, I am a multitasker, a real avant-garde of the mayor”, she slips.

Estelle doesn’t have a typical day. Its work consists both of supporting citizens in their procedures and of overseeing the legal and financial functioning of the community. She is also the collaborator of the mayor, David Fleury, and his two deputies. « I also take care of the preparation of the municipal councils, the drafting of the minutes and the deliberations, she continues. I also happen to attend weddings. »

A profession marked by precariousness

Estelle, with graying hair and dark glasses, has had a busy life. Like its nearly 20,000 colleagues, in a profession marked by the variety of qualification and recruitment levels. A horticulturist by training, she holds the grade of category C of the public service when, in 2009, employed in the village, the post of town hall secretary becomes available: “I applied when the mayor had just been elected. » His bet did not give way to a time of observation: “I started in November and, from January 2010, I had to tackle the budgets and administrative accounts, but also the preparation of the regional elections. » An intensive apprenticeship for an essentially female profession. « No doubt that the title of secretary has connotations », she admits.

But the profession is above all marked by the precariousness of employment, forcing the multiplication of positions, when they are not part-time allowing additional income for the household. According to a study by Sébastien Vignon, lecturer at the University of Amiens, 70% of town hall secretaries surveyed work more than 35 hours a week, 50% of which in a single town. Estelle is part-time nineteen hours a week. Always with his category C grade, when other of his colleagues are at level A or B, thus inducing a difference in treatment for the same work carried out.

On this Tuesday at the end of September, when summer ends and the coolness of autumn appears, the town clerk did not receive any residents during her afternoon shift. At most citizens called to obtain civil status certificates. But do not be mistaken about the complexity of his work: “Five years ago, I replaced Estelle during a two-month sick leave, says David Fleury. I had a hard time, totally lost in the face of the software, especially since the two assistants did not master computers. He adds : Everyone has their role and theirs must be recognized. »

In the heart of a disaster area

Because, beyond the requests of the inhabitants, a (or a) secretary of the town hall assumes more recurring tasks, such as the management of the allocation paid every month or the pay of municipal agents. In addition to Estelle, who also takes care of the municipal library, the municipality employs two agents. One ten hours a week for green spaces and building maintenance, the other six and a half hours for cleaning the premises. But, be careful, the town clerk is not their hierarchical superior.

In total, Bornambusc’s budget is 246,000 euros, including 199,000 euros for operations. So, the shortfall since the abolition of the housing tax does not pass with the mayor and his employee. Especially since the territory suffers from the desertion of public services. “The city finds itself no longer able to contact the public treasury of Fécamp, they no longer respond. The sub-prefecture, the same, laments Estelle . All requests are made by email, with response times of four to five days. »

Apart from the proximity of an SNCF station, Bornambusc is at the heart of a disaster area where the post offices and the CAF have been removed. A France services house was created 2.5 kilometers away, in Goderville, financed by the community of communes. “People would still have to be able to move around”, especially the elderly, blows the town clerk. In this desert, the extreme right prospers: in the second round, Marine Le Pen exceeded 60%. Estelle Guénot remains on the front line to support public service, the common good of all.


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