Campaign kickoff: 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Knights of Columbus, 15 Winslow St.
Janice Weber brings two key factors to her candidacy for town clerk – direct experience in that office and endorsements from previous clerks.
She has been the assistant town clerk for nearly nine years and for 14 years was the assistant registrar, handling voter data. That background has drawn endorsements from the outgoing clerk, Stephanie Lucarelli; her predecessor and now interim Town Clerk Corinne Rainville and former longtime Town Clerk Ann Mahon Powers.
Three potential candidates are vying for one three-year position. The incumbent, Lucarelli, has been on leave since August. Two others have taken out papers for clerk, Juliana Brazile and Patti Brennan Sawtelle.
Here are Weber's responses to basic questions to all who take out papers. They have been edited:
Q: Why are you seeking this seat?
I am seeking the office of the town clerk because I am committed to public service. I want the town government to work efficiently and expertly for all residents. I have the experience and knowledge to make that happen.
Q: What specific qualifications do you have that support your candidacy for town clerk?
My 14 years as assistant registrar gives me experience in both offices of the town clerk, which has never happened before. My current tenure as assistant town clerk for nine years, coming up in April, has given me the technical skills and details of the job. I will be ready to run things on day one. Moreover, I know the individuals who make our municipal government work and how any modernization will require collaboration across several offices.
Let me say that there is a great staff in the clerk’s office, and we truly enjoy working together. Also, I’m deeply honored to have the support and endorsement of the outgoing town clerk, her predecessor and a former longtime clerk.
Q: What are the key issues you see facing the town clerk?
We have asked, for several years, for the ability to accept electronic payments for documents, license requests, etc., online. This request requires, as noted, approval and collaboration across several offices and is carefully being studied in order to attract the least-expensive solution for the town and to make sure that residents will receive the benefits at the most reasonable price possible.
Modernization is key to every town, and that is what I plan to implement when elected. One procedure is to have the database on the state VRIS [Voter Registration Information System] situated more conveniently in order to respond to inquiries rapidly instead of putting callers on hold.
Another implementation, which I have already started, is cross-training office staff to ensure that work goes on smoothly in cases of personnel absences or illness.
It is urgent that we find a solution to preserve our records in our limited physical space, either by digital scanning or microfiche images. The Town Hall basement would be a perfect archival area for storing records that have no back-up copies; however, this area is not used to its potential and requires applying for a capital-budget request. The answer is to start now to fully fund this important endeavor in the future.
Q: What personal background can you provide?
I moved to Arlington in 1954, attended Cutter School, Junior High West (now the Ottoson) and graduated from Arlington High School. My late husband, David, who passed away unexpectedly in 1990, and I have six children. Five graduated from Arlington High School and one from Minuteman.
In my earlier days, I was a secretary to the vice president of a financial publishing company until my children came along. I administered electroencephalograms for a doctor in Arlington, and then I started a day-care business for several years to remain at home with my children.
From 1972 until 2006, I volunteered as a Scout leader for each of my children and served as PTO co-president at Peirce School, instituting a one-family donation per year, which is still in effect today. I was also the treasurer for the booster club at Minuteman.
I volunteered for five years in the registrars office before going to work full time there. I studied accounting at Newbury College when it had classes at Arlington High School and a psychology of women’s course at Middlesex Community College.
Recently, I have continued my education with classes sponsored by the Massachusetts Town Clerk’s Association through its generosity of giving me the opportunity as an assistant town clerk.
In 1975, I was elected to Town Meeting from Precinct 21, took a few years off and have been a meeting member for the last nine years. I am a corporator with the Boys & Girls Club, board member for Relay for Life and was a committee member for the Arlington Bicentennial celebration.
I serve at my church, First Baptist of Arlington, which I have attended since 1954, as a deacon, Christian-education treasurer and financial secretary/collector.
This news summary was published Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. All potential candidates in the April election have been asked a similar set of questions. All responses received will be edited and published.
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