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Sawtelle: Clerk hopeful cites tech background, need for upgrades

Campaign kickoff held Friday, Feb. 7, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus

UPDATED, April 1: “I am running for town clerk because I have a passion for public service and technology,” Patti Brennan Sawtelle wrote in response to basic questions sent to all who take out nomination papers for the April town election.

Patti Brennan Sawtelle, clerk candidate, 2020Sawtelle

As of Jan. 2, three aim to be candidates for the three-year seat held since 2011 by Stephanie Lucarelli, who has been on leave since August.

Sawtelle has more than 25 years of municipal and professional experience in project and program management. Employed by the Town of Arlington since 2009, she is a technology project manager in the town's information technology department. In a statement, she said has “used her skills and education to improve business practices and replace outdated software programs, with the goal of improving the customer experience and reducing our environmental footprint.”

Before this, she has administered the town’s vaccination program, including the inoculation of nearly 8,000 residents during the 2009-2010 flu pandemic. That required managing multiple sites, logistics, equipment and hundreds of volunteers, she said.

'Translates to election management'

“That operations experience translates directly to election management,” she wrote, “and I will use those skills to manage an impartial electoral process with integrity and fairness.”

Currently, she wrote, “the clerk’s office is attempting to meet the demands of 2020 using 1950s technology and business practices.

“The lack of modernization in the office results in inefficient, paper-based business processes that limits resident engagement opportunities and perpetuates outdated election practices.

“These inefficiencies create a reactive environment when the town should be proactively focusing its efforts on new technologies as well as opportunities to increase voter turnout.”

Other issues facing the clerk’s office are a lack a social-media presence, which she calls “an enormous lost opportunity to communicate important information to residents.” She cited a lack options for information requests and purchases via digital records and online transactions.

Additionally, the three-year contract for the Town Meeting voting equipment expires in 2020, necessitating the review and possible replacement of existing voting equipment.

She wrote: “I am the only candidate who has municipal technology-procurement experience.”

Further background

In addition to her experience with the town, she is a notary public, with more than 15 years’ experience managing operations in energy efficiency, marketing and sales.

She has a bachelor degree in business administration from Suffolk University and a master's in business administration from Nichols College. She also received procurement certifications from the state inspector general's office and operational certifications from the National Incident Management System.

A resident since 2004, she has volunteered in many town efforts over the past 16 years providing support to youth sports and activities, direct support to schools, the Arlington Youth Counseling Center and the Patriots’ Day Parade.

She said she organized the first vacation lunch program at Thompson School in 2011 and previously worked on fund-raising for the Arlington Food Pantry, now Arlington EATS.

Her husband, Steve, is a member of the Arlington Veterans Council. They are parents to Patrick, a junior at Arlington High School, as well as Jake and Bryan, who are grown and live out of state, and Maggie, "our sweet Irish wolfhound."

She concluded with a statement: “We need a town clerk who understands municipal government, technology, and logistics who can step in on day one and be effective. My technology and leadership skills, combined with my municipal and operations experience, makes me the right choice for the next town clerk. My goal is to modernize town clerk business practices and provide high-quality customer service.”

Other clerk candidates

The other two potential candidates for town clerk are Janice A. Weber, 29 Crescent Hill Ave., a longtime employee in the clerk's office and Juliana H. Brazile, 56 Coolidge Road.

For a list of major offices on the ballot, expiring Town Meeting member seats, the 2020 annual town election calendar and other election information, visit arlingtonma.gov/elections.


Campaign website

ACMi profile >>


This news summary was published Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Updated Feb. 7, to add kickoff, and April 1, to add link to ACMi profile. All potential candidates in the April election have been asked a similar set of questions. All edited responses will be published.

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