Town Clerk Candidates: What Makes an Efficient, Effective Clerk's Office
Candidates offer a peek at their priorities and views on the office.
What does the Town Clerk do? Why does their job matter? And what are some of the best principles and practices that help a Town Clerk serve the community effectively?
We asked the three candidates running for Town Clerk for their opinions and insights on the office.
Challenger Han Bernier said having an 'open door' policy isn't enough. She said nothing the Town Clerk does should ever be a mystery to residents or other members of town government.
"The three words I keep thinking about accessible, accountable and transparent," said Bernier. "If we do that, then we can have a leading department."
Bernier added that she would like to see the office of Town Clerk work more openly and cooperatively with the other departments in town, as well as with the Town Manager.
Denise Graffeo said the main goal for her, in terms of resident service, is consistency. She said she wants to make sure all residents receive the same level of service and that all employees of the Town Clerk's office can provide all services at any time.
"People are looking for information," said Graffeo, who works as an assistant clerk in the Town Clerk's office presently. "My vision is to standardize procedures, clear leadership and clear practices for staff, so that all (employees) have the same information and would give the same information.
"Strong leadership and clear priorities would improve the quality of service (to the public)," said Graffeo.
Incumbent Mary-Ann Nichols says important parts of her job include being the keeper of the public vital records, meeting minutes, putting information up on the town's Web site and overseeing the elections. She said a key is to be able to expect the unexpected.
"You have to be able to switch on a dime," said Nichols. "Every day there is something new. And a lot of times, what you think is common sense, isn't common sense."
For complete catalog of Tewksbury Patch Election 2011 coverage, click here.
Election Day is Saturday, April 2.