To the Editor:
As I share with voters why I’m running for Town Clerk, there is one question that keeps coming up. What does the Town Clerk do?
The Town Clerk is the keeper of government, land, and vital records going back to our 1640 founding. They provide administrative support for the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), handle all the absentee ballots in elections, and process permits and licenses as an agent for the state. It may not be the most titillating job description on its face, but the Town Clerk provides critical services to the town and its residents.
I grew up in Greenwich and went to Greenwich Public Schools, as did my husband. We chose to come home and raise our family here because of our great schools, low taxes, and strong community. My parents instilled in me that you need a vibrant community around you to live a rich life, but you have to contribute to building and maintaining that community to get anything in return. This philosophy is the core of why I am running for Town Clerk.
There are other reasons, of course. I’m a nerd for local government, I like to be helpful, and my skill set is perfect for the role. Local government has a huge impact on our day-to-day lives and the more efficient and user-friendly it is, the better it works for all. The Town Clerk has many opportunities to make your interactions with Town Hall less cumbersome and I am ready to tackle them.
I want to modernize the department, increase efficiency, and improve customer experience. But there is more to do, starting with raising awareness of the services the Town Clerk offers. Over the past few years, I have helped my neighborhood association’s reach in our community grow exponentially, making it easier to keep each other informed and connect with each other. I’ll use those same strategies to raise the department’s profile. More awareness means more people can access and benefit from all that the town offers.
Modernizing the office is more than just buying new software and putting links on the department’s webpage. You need stakeholder buy-in, planning, and training. Measure twice, cut once or you’ll waste time and money. We all see how that has gone wrong with town officials taking a reactive or piecemeal approach to planning. It’s a drain on our hard-earned tax dollars. I have transitioned offices to new technology and will manage implementing change more cost effectively and with minimal disruption. My first order of business will be to work with the professional team in the office to develop a holistic plan for prioritizing improvements that benefit all residents.
Setting a higher standard for transparency and accountability for the Town Clerk’s politically sensitive responsibilities, like handling absentee ballots, is also at the top of my to do list. With elections under so much scrutiny these days, the Town Clerk needs to go above and beyond what is required to develop procedures that are fully auditable and stand up to any and all scrutiny. I’ll take the responsibility of handling your ballots with full integrity, honesty, and transparency.
As an active three-term member of the Representative Town Meeting, I have served as the secretary for my district and committees. Hands-on experience with our 230-member legislative body means I can roll up my sleeves and get to work immediately. If you have read the local news recently, you’re aware of the escalating dysfunction on the RTM. To mitigate time and money wasted on distractions from the work we were elected to do, I want to give members more guidance and training to avoid ongoing debates over process and parliamentary procedure. Most importantly, I will make it simpler for voters to hold their RTM reps accountable by providing easier access to their voting records. Because elected officials work for the people and not the other way around.
My 30-year career as a specialist in fine art photography is surprisingly transferrable to the Town Clerk’s role. I know the best practices for managing paper-based archives and maintaining the highest preservation standards to protect our town’s history. Speeding up the digitization of our historical records, which saves users a trip to Town Hall and lets us store originals more safely and cost-effectively, is one improvement I will pursue expeditiously.
The Town Clerk is hired by voters to take on a significant administrative role. Hiring the candidate you trust to provide the highest level of service for Greenwich benefits all. You deserve a Town Clerk with the experience, skills and vision to truly change the way you do business at Town Hall for the better, and I will deliver.
Vote Row A on November 7th.
Lucy von Brachel
Brachel is a candidate for Greenwich Town Clerk and a member of Greenwich Representative Town Meeting