Leadership, Accuracy and Accessibility.
First and foremost is Leadership. Due to extenuating circumstances, there has been turnover in the office in regard to leadership. Therefore a steadying force and direction should be paramount. Despite that fact and to their credit, the staff is well versed on what needs to be done and their experience is vital for the office to meet the goals of the office. We won’t forget what happened but understand that you cannot move forward while looking backwards. In addition, after sitting down with the team, I will create an organizational chart with responsibilities for all positions and look to provide training and cross-training opportunities for their professional growth as well as to better handle the day-to-day operations.
Accuracy must apply to everything we do, no matter how big or how small, each and every day. Take the time to do it right, the first time.
Elections are the ultimate democratic process, one that many men and women gave their life in protecting this right and we must maintain secure and fair elections. There are many tools available to ensure this happens and we will be active participants to remain current. We have to provide easy access to election resources for ALL voters, whether it be those with disabilities or those where English is a second language.
Public Records require maintaining secure records systems permanently and to provide convenient access to those records while protecting the personal data contained within. We went to great lengths to ensure we will be able to preserve the history and tradition that make Salem County both special and unique.
In order to realize any of these visions (and others), it will take engagement and accountability, from myself and the staff. The Salem County Clerk’s Office has a great staff and our people are our greatest asset. My leadership experience can provide the needed direction, resources and support they need to be their best.
The County Clerk’s Office is a most unique office with varied duties for the public including document recording, preparation of ballots, administering official oaths, providing access to important public information and safeguarding the unique historical gems of the Salem County Clerk’s Archives. The County Clerk needs to be a leader and have the vision to protect the important traditions of this office as the culture around it continues to progress.
I have proven my leadership ability through my daily responsibilities at PSEG as well as my 3-term tenure as a Salem County Freeholder. I understand the importance of this office and my background as an elected official has prepared me for this awesome and honored task. Not to be overlooked, the human factor is vitally important. As County Clerk I will have many opportunities to help citizens and my experience as a Freeholder gives me an insight into how to put together solutions to problems in a professional and respectful manner to ensure that everyone feels good about their experience.
I am on board with Salem County’s participation in the recent statewide table top exercise Continuity of Operations Plan [COOP] with 400 representatives from all over New Jersey. The NJ Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) of the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Division of Elections, began preparation for this exercise back in January by establishing county core teams who attended workshops and started preparing our countywide Continuity of Operations Plan. Our local participants were representatives from the Board of Elections, County Clerk’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, County Emergency Management, Prosecutor’s Office and Management Information Systems working with our counterparts from every New Jersey County. I will continue to update the COOP, by working with all the stakeholders including Homeland Security, the NJ Division of Elections, Salem County Board of Elections, Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, Salem County IT and our municipal clerks to prepare and to respond quickly to matters affecting our elections data and polling locations.
As County Clerk, coupled with my previous Freeholder background overseeing Public Safety, I will not only take the learnings from the above listed exercises but also participate in the frequent statewide conference calls led by Robert Giles, Director of the Division of Elections. I will participate in the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) of the National Security Agency as they publish advisories on potential vulnerabilities and offer mitigation tools in order to protect the integrity of our election process in Salem County and the State.
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The County Clerk's office is the quintessential customer service office for the county. The County Clerk is responsible for maintaining all property records and deeds. This service must be available, up to date, accurate and customer oriented. Our current system is outdated. My plan is to modernize this service and make it available on-line.
The County Clerk is The Election Official under Title 19. With that title comes the responsibility to accept and verify all petitions for elected office, process Vote by Mail applications, collect and certify election results. As Clerk, I will promote good relationships by working closely with the Board of Elections staff and Directors thus opening the door for communication between the two. Sharing voter information and equipment will enhance both offices. I am passionate about enfranchising our citizens with disabilities. Currently, voters with disabilities do not have guaranteed access to private voting machines that are accessible physically or in the language they need.
Veterans Services is another area that needs better coordination and I plan to work closely with the County Veterans Office to make the process to apply for a Veteran’s card easier and more accessible.
Transportation and access have been key reasons why residents cannot get the services available at the County Clerk’s office. Access is limited currently by the county work hours and the Offices’s only location in Salem City. As Clerk, I intend to extend office hours and to provide services at other locations around the county. My plan is to provide services on a rotating schedule at municipal government buildings when they open for local government meetings. Services include: passport application with photo booth, registration for Vote by Mail, Veteran Service card applications, and general questions. The County Clerk Website also can be a great source of information and will be kept updated with timely and helpful resources.
I am excited and energized by the challenges and the responsibilities of the position of Salem County Clerk.
I am a highly qualified and experienced elected official. I have been elected to 4 terms as a Salem County Freeholder and was selected as NJ Association of Counties President in 2011. During my 12 years as a Freeholder, I was a successful member of different committees and boards including: Administration, OEM, Improvement Authority, Railroad, Tourism,
Culture and Heritage, Farmland and Open Space, Health Dept. and Education. I was also the county liaison to Commission on Women, Salem County Women’s Services, Inter Agency Council and the Office for Disabilities. The opportunity to work with directors, departments and outside agencies has provided me with contacts, working relationships and government experience.
In addition, I have been an RN for 36 years: a Nurse Manager of a 42 bed unit with 75 employees, a school nurse and a care coordinator. I have proven exceptional leadership skills. Nurses are caregivers and make great advocates. I have a good work ethic, critical thinking skills, am open to ideas, and I am ready and honored to work for the residents of Salem County.
The County Clerk is statutorily mandated under Title 19 as the Election Official. The voter lists should be updated according to the statutes to ensure accuracy of information. Voting machines should be accessible, both physically and in the language of the voter. It is my intent to ensure that the machines provide multiple language options and that these are available to each voter. Privacy in the authentication and eligibility process should be standard. Visually impaired assistance via large point size text and high contrast text display should be available. It is a commitment from the NJ Association of Election Officials and the Constitutional Officers of New Jersey to advocate and ensure that all eligible voters are able to fully participate in the electoral process of our state and I stand firmly in this commitment as the Democrat candidate for Salem County Clerk.
As County Clerk, I will look into the expansion of office hours and locations that offer Vote Early access in addition to the County Clerk’s office.
I intend to have staff cross trained on all aspects of the Election process and have semi-annual training and updating of information. The staff will work closely with the Board of Elections to ensure that voting integrity and privacy is upheld. Polling places that may not be fully disabled accessible will be reevaluated with the Board of Elections.
As the state of NJ looks at the future of voting, including the potential for voting online, voting over a 2 week period, postage paid applications and ballot mailing, I intend to explore these options with a moral and legal pledge to ensure ballot access to all eligible voters. It is my hope that every person who wants to vote and is eligible to vote may do so in the least restrictive way.