Saturday, October 24, 2015

Franklin Candidate for Town Clerk - Diane Padula-O'Neill

Diane Padula-O'Neill and I sat down at Panera recently. This is the summary of our conversation about her candidacy for Town Clerk.

FM - What is your Franklin story?

Padula-O'Neill - I was born and raised in Franklin, along with my two sisters Darlene Denommee and Denise DePedro, by our parents John R. Padula and the late Sheila (Spadoni) Padula. I currently live in Franklin with my husband Stephen and my four stepchildren.

I started at Dean Bank in a traveling role in 2002. With my personality and previous business and banking knowledge, I could easily bring myself to other branches and I fit in well. Within my first year, I was chosen to become Dean Bank's Electronic Services Coordinator and have been in this position 13 years. In this job I have learned both the service and backend of the online and telephone banking products as well as ATM and Point of Sale, making me the primary contact for both customers and Customer Service Rep's in the Dean Bank's Operations Department.

It was not long after settling into this position that I made the decision to go back to school and eventually graduating from Dean College in 2006 with an Associate Degree in Business and going on to Emmanuel College to earn my Bachelor's Degree in Business in 2011. It took me a bit longer than I originally anticipated as I received a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2007 and needed time off for surgery, radiation treatments and to take care of myself. I had met my husband only one year prior but knew he was a keeper soon after my diagnosis. Through it all, I had the love and support of my family, friends and my employer who directly contributed to my success and I am stronger today because of it. 
My parents were greatest examples and taught me the importance of getting involved, investing in our youth and community. For many years I coached both Pop Warner and High School Cheerleading and participated in many Relay for Life events too. I am a Commissioner for Franklin Housing Authority and member of the Franklin Art Association. I have volunteered with a number of local organizations like the Downtown Partnership "Beautification Days", Franklin Food Pantry annual food drives, Friends of Franklin and the Franklin Rotary Club's Annual Pasta Supper for the elderly where I enjoy serving dinners and I'll even get up a sing a few songs to entertain.

FM - What do you see as a challenge for the position of Town Clerk?

Padula-O'Neill - The Office of the Town Clerk oversees the town's vital records, town census, town meeting actions, town and state elections and voter registration. I don't see any real challenges but I do see many opportunities. I have taken a proactive approach by announcing my candidacy in March. I have met with our Town Administrator and Town Clerk's in our surrounding towns. I know what is expected of a Town Clerk and I am looking forward to the future of the Franklin Town Clerk's office. 
This job will provide me the latitude to work toward obtaining my Town Clerk Certification while working to increase voter registration through education and improving our civic engagement through visibility. I want to bring the office into the 21st century especially now that online voter registration is available in MA. 
I will work to forge a better relationship between the Clerk's office and our high school students. Because students can pre-register to vote at the age of 16, my goal is to educate and spark their interest in their rights as voters in America and citizens of Franklin.

FM - What do you bring to the position that would set you apart from the other candidates?

Padula-O'Neill - I am rooted in Franklin, I know Franklin, I care deeply about Franklin because it's my lifelong home. I am competent, dedicated and forward thinking. My integrity, education and expertise in customer service will be best served when dealing with the needs and wants of our Taxpayers and other Municipal Departments. I plan to modernize the Clerk's office with a strong focus on customer convenience where my extensive work experience in business and electronic banking services coupled with my passion for serving our community make me the stand out candidate to see this through. 
Although I enjoy seeing people in person, this is not always conducive. Over the next four years, I will work to make the Clerk's office more accessible introducing more online contact and services. For instance, by improving upon the online access of our annual report making it more interactive and user friendly. People don't want to leaf through every page to get to where they want to be. It could be better indexed. I'd also like to look at a Point of Sale (POS) system to handle online orders and in office payments too. The office should be able to take credit and debit cards for payments for copies of certificates and licenses and for services provided by the clerk's office. Not everyone carries cash anymore.

If you have any follow up questions for Diane, you can contact her via

You also visit her website
Of find her on Facebook

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 this text before publishing to ensure the accuracy of our discussion.

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