Monday, February 16, 2009

Former Paralegal Runs for Re-Election as Town Clerk and Treasurer

In her own words, why she should be re-elected:

Experience counts

Editor of the Reformer:

Dear Westminster Residents,

We will be voting March 3 for our town officials, board and committee members. Two of those votes will be to elect our town clerk and treasurer, positions I have held since my appointment by the Selectboard in April 2005, and subsequent elections in July 2005 and March 2006.

I was able to 'hit the ground running' in 2005 because of my extensive experience in the legal field and involvement in local government. My 24 years' experience as a real estate paralegal enabled me to fill the shoes of the clerk on a moment's notice, and with 10 additional years working in areas of management, bookkeeping, human resources and administrative support, I had the ability to assume the financial responsibilities of a treasurer or finance officer.

My involvement in civic organizations, activities, schools and government is an indication of my commitment to this community. A native of Bellows Falls, I graduated from Bellows Falls High School in 1966 and returned to the area in 1978. Coming into the town clerk and treasurer positions with several years' experience recording the minutes of School Board and Selectboard meetings and serving as a Justice of the Peace, I was familiar with how government and schools work, and what is important to our residents.

As your clerk and treasurer, many accomplishments have been realized, including working through the transition of town managers, assuming the task of collecting delinquent taxes and defining the responsibilities and best practices of the financial aspect of town government; strengthening and instituting financial safeguards as recommended by our professional auditors; and defining strategies for the investment of funds to maximize the town's income possibilities. Having been a real estate paralegal, I came into this job familiar with the needs of those who research our records, and created a comfortable working environment for the public, while utilizing the existing space and furniture.

Being mindful of the difficult economic times around us, I developed a combined budget for the clerk's office, the treasurer, the finance officer and elections that results in an overall decrease of 1.15 percent in spending for the next fiscal year.

My goal for the next three years is to move beyond what we've already done, and begin to focus on improving the vault and record storage system. By installing lateral mobile shelving, we can expand the existing vault space to almost double its present capacity, and by purchasing an indexing and imaging software package, we will be able to scan our land records and current index system. With the addition of a computer station in our research area, the public will be able to access our records through an online database. The cost of these improvements will come from funds that have been accumulating in our Restoration Reserve Fund that, by statute, is to be used for restoration, preservation and conservation of municipal records.

Please exercise your right to vote on Town Meeting Day. Stop by or call our office to request an absentee ballot if the polling hours (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) are not convenient. I welcome your inquiry into my candidacy, and ask for your vote as I seek re-election.

Doreen Woodward,

Westminster, Feb. 8

(Source: Letter box - Brattleboro Reformer)

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