Town Clerk Q&A: Meet the Candidates

Written by Administrator
 | Friday, 07 March 2014 17:56

Maureen Herrmann

Why are you seeking the position of Town Clerk? I am seeking the position of Town Clerk because I will bring a fresh perspective and new energy to the role – and I’m entirely confident in my ability to very quickly gain mastery of the day-to-day expectations of the role.  There are opportunities in life that sometimes present themselves at unexpected times and Nancy Oates’ retirement presents an opportunity – for me, and for the town.  My professional career has been varied and incredibly fulfilling.  Duxbury now requires the services of a new Town Clerk, one who will provide a level of extraordinary service to the town.  For me, it’s the perfect confluence of timing and opportunity. I am ready to serve the town which has provided me and my family such a wonderful sense of community.

What relevant experiences will be most useful for this position? Organizing events, managing membership, and building relationships with key constituents are probably the most useful attributes for this position that I’ve honed in my professional career.  I am a graduate of the School of Professional and Management Studies at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, and earned my Master of Education degree at Rutgers University.  For the past 8-1/2 years, I have worked at Harvard University.  As Program and Administrative Director at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, I have exercised and refined many skills which will prove useful in the role of Town Clerk.  In this scientific enterprise which involves over 1,000 researchers at the university and eight affiliated hospitals, I manage membership, events, programming and an undergraduate internship, with overall operational and human resources responsibility for the administrative office.  In an eco-system such as Harvard, there is no room for imperfection or excuses.  Quality of execution, attention to detail, and maintaining frequent and collegial relationships with our scientific investigators and philanthropic community are assets which I will bring to the role of Town Clerk.

What are your strengths and what can you improve upon? My colleagues frequently tell me they are awed by my organizational skills, by my ability to “make things happen” – one told me the other day I was the hardest worker she has ever met.  While that is flattering, I know I could work on delegating assignments to others, and providing helpful mentoring along the way.

Why do you want to work for the Town of Duxbury? There is an expectation of excellence in Duxbury…in the management of our natural resources, in our schools, and in the way in which we care for those who need extra support from time to time.  To be associated with this culture is very appealing to me.  I did not settle in this town on a whim, and I haven’t remained here, despite a lengthy daily commute to Cambridge, without sincerely wanting to be an integral part of this community. I feel strongly I can add to that culture of excellence in my own way.  I have lived here for 24 years, raising three children through that time, benefitting from all this town has to offer, and now I would like to provide service to the residents of the town in a way that honors their commitment to the town.  In some ways, we are on a shared journey in this town, and I like to think we can each enrich that journey in our own, unique way.

What are your goals for the position of Town Clerk? My goal is to make access to the services offered by the Town Clerk’s office more transparent and available, to the greatest extent possible, via electronic, 24/7 accessibility.  Additionally, I want to be certain that Duxbury complies with all election requirements, including the separate, new voter registration and election administration rules approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate.

Are you qualified and prepared to meet the demands of the position of Town Clerk? Why? I do believe I am very qualified for the position, and I am thoroughly prepared to meet the demands of the position of Town Clerk. If there are processes I need to learn, I will seek the right training sources and opportunities.  Throughout my professional career, I have demonstrated a commitment to efficiency, and a willingness to problem-solve and reorganize activities to make them more efficient, even if this is outside my comfort zone.  I am comfortable working with all levels of stakeholders and to voicing my informed opinion in a measured and reasoned manner.

Is there something you would like to improve upon as Town Clerk? What would it be and why? It would be disingenuous of me to remark on concrete improvements before I have a chance to see how things really work, and to get real-time feedback about services for residents.  Conversations with the Town Manager, Rene Read, and other department heads in Town Hall would also be valuable.  In the end, the voice of the residents will ring true and clear. Oddly enough, my only recent contact with the Town Clerk’s office was to gather papers to run for the office…I was treated very politely and professionally, and I learned a great deal.  And best of all, the office was open till 7:00 p.m. on the two Mondays I visited!  I am well aware that time is a valuable commodity, one which most of us find lacking in our busy lives.  To this regard, any improvement that allows us to interact with Town Hall, either during regular business hours or when the offices are closed, would be an improvement.

What qualities make you stand out as a candidate? My capacity for customer service is exceptional.  I have a great deal of energy and capacity for learning new things. I am very professional, with a strong regard for making sure things are done right – and well.

Why should you be elected as the next Town Clerk? This election provides a unique opportunity, with the impending retirement of our long-serving Town Clerk, for the voters of Duxbury to select a professional who will execute the duties of the office of Town Clerk in a manner which elevates the provision of town services.  If elected, I will truly serve the citizens of Duxbury and constantly seek to improve not only my knowledge of local and state rules, but also my delivery of services to the town.  The residents of Duxbury can be assured that, with Maureen Herrmann as their Town Clerk, they have an advocate and someone committed to improvement, who is rooted in the community and seeks excellence in town governance.