Beth Simon, one of the candidates for Town Clerk, met with me recently at Panera Bread. This is the summary of our conversation.
FM - What is your Franklin story?
Beth Simon - When I mentioned to my husband, that I was thinking of running for Town Clerk, he said “You’re very efficient and highly organized. I can’t think of a better position to use what you can bring to this position.”
When I arrived 26 years ago I was new to town and had few friends at the time. My first volunteer position was with All Night Party. Some asked “Why are you here, you don’t have any children?” I thought this was a great way to keep children safe. So I have been volunteering for them ever since. The friends I met through the All Night Party had children around the same time and we kept in touch. Volunteering became a very integral part of my life. It came full circle with the Ladybug Project last year. So many of the folks I have met, I had worked with before.
I quickly became an active volunteer when I arrived in Franklin, so my passion with Franklin has been from the beginning. I currently work in the Franklin Public School system where I get to help people on a daily basis. With the Town Clerk, I could do the same on a grander scale. Help them find answers and solutions to their problems.
FM - What do you see as a challenge for the position of Town Clerk?
Beth Simon – I see a great need for the office hours to reflect what the residents of Franklin need in order to conduct business. Currently working in the school system, I have seen some of our parents struggle with proof of residence. They have to coordinate their hours with the hours of the school department to get the necessary paperwork in order. I see a lot of people stress out trying to get that done. The Town Clerk should have extended hours and should work with the School Department as well as other departments to service the town’s people better than we are doing now.
Part of my background is with marketing and promotion, so while Franklin Matters does a great job keeping people informed, we can do more and communicate effectively. The Town lacks in that. Maybe a coffee hour at a local business to meet with the people and business; maybe go to a different places, every Thursday or whatever works, tweet it out, let people know. To meet with folks, make it easier and get feedback from the residents. I see part of this role as a PR person.
Years ago we had an issue with trees resting on utility wires and I was unsure who to call. I contacted the Town Clerk’s office and they directed me to the correct department. People may not know who to contact and the Town Clerk’s office is generally the first department people have contact with. It is where you will go to get a marriage, birth or death certificate plus register a dog or business. Most of the normal life events require interaction with the Town Clerk.
I was on the recent charter commission which gave me great insights into how the town worked. It was a great commission to be on. I became much more informed about what was going on in the town. I told Jim Dacey, hey I could get in as Treasurer and jokingly said to him, I can’t balance a check book. Is that good? That helped to start the move to bring the change to have that position appointed and approved by the Town Council. As for the Town Clerk, my position was that the residents of Franklin should maintain their right to vote for Town Clerk.
FM - What do you bring to the position that would set you apart from the other candidates?
Beth Simon – I have worked in both the private and public arena. One of the private sector jobs I did was I managed expo events all over the country. My expo events were attended by 300 to 500 people from all over the country. So the coordination of doing an event on that large scale would be similar to handling an election. Managing the details of the events is one of my strengths.
I also have a great knowledge of social media. I tweet a lot and get some of the local parents to follow to get updates on what’s going on at our school and what changes there are. I am highly organized. I believe that every inquiry should be answered within two business days.
If you have any follow up questions for Beth, you can contact her via email@example.com
You can also visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bethsimonfortownclerk?fref=ts
Noteworthy: This information is intended to help the Franklin voters when we all head to the ballot box on November 3rd. The interview candidates have had an opportunity to review the text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion.
Post a Comment