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Fair,36°
Monday, October 20, 2014
Gillen looks to unseat O’Connell for county clerk
(Page 2 of 3)
Provided photos
Maureen O'Connell, left, the incumbent Nassau County clerk, is being challenged by Laura Gillen.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION OF THE COUNTY CLERK?

Maureen O’Connell: Outstanding delivery of government services to all our residents and recognizing that although this is a very public office, the residents who come in have very personal concerns for which they seek our help — this is my most important function. My career as an oncology nurse and service as a New York State Assemblywoman and public servant have provided me with invaluable insight into the needs of people. As county clerk, I have drawn on my many experiences in the private and public sector, and have concluded that I am uniquely situated to protect homeowners from issues that effect us all, such as identity theft, and alert our residents to issues that are of concern to them. Meeting the changing needs of our residents — whether brought on by natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy or by man-made disasters like the foreclosure crisis — as I work to bring more responsible, cost-effective government to the residents of Nassau County is how I view my most important task.

Laura Gillen: The County Clerk’s office provides essential support to our state and county court systems and to the real estate industry by receiving and maintaining the records for both. It is imperative that these important records are received and recorded with ease, and the integrity and security of the records are maintained. In addition, the office handles hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The utmost care must be given to make sure that this revenue is being handled properly. The Nassau County Clerk’s office has remained far behind other county clerk offices in implementing today’s technology to improve services. I will change that.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IMPROVE THE COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE?

Maureen O’Connell: My first initiative was to get back to the basics of providing service that is prompt, professional and proficient. Within my first year of taking office, my staff and I worked to eliminate a tremendous multi-year backlog of real property filings. Through a partnership with the New York State Unified Court System, the Clerk’s office participates in an electronic filing program that allows for electronic rather than paper filings of court documents that can be accessed by court personnel and attorneys. I have also worked with local small businesses, chambers of commerce, and veterans groups to establish the County Clerk’s Veterans Recognition Program, which offers veterans who record their discharge papers on record with my office a discount at participating businesses.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO IMPROVE THE COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE?

Laura Gillen: My first priority will be to eliminate waste and get spending under control. I will invite and work with the county’s comptroller, regardless of party affiliation, to conduct a thorough audit of the office and use that to identify problem areas that need to be addressed. I will embrace technology as a means to streamline operations and increase efficiencies in the clerk’s office. I will benchmark Nassau’s County Clerk’s office against those of award-winning offices and roll out a plan to achieve identified goals to bring Nassau to where it should be. Staff will be embraced as key partners in achieving success and ensure that there is an open line of communications that leads to my door so problems can be addressed quickly. I will ensure that my staff has the training they need to implement the use of new technology. Crucially, I will bring transparency to the County Clerk’s office, which has been historically absent, and will work with the county executive, county comptroller and the county’s outside auditors to ensure the fiscal health of the County Clerk’s office is accurately reported and is publicly available.

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