5 questions for...Betsy Browne, president of New England Association of City & Town Clerks
Published 3:00 pm, Sunday, February 12, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Working for the town is nothing new for Town Clerk Betsy Browne, but now she has another task.
Its purpose, she said, is for the exchange of opinions, concepts, skills and experiences “to advance and increase our knowledge and efficiency of municipal clerk duties, professional development and administration of our respective offices.” That exchange, she said, has been very beneficial, “especially as we look at early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting.
As president, Browne will convene the group’s annual educational conference later this year that will be held in Trumbull.
Q: What was your first job with the town and how old were you?
A: I was a 16-year-old beach sticker girl, and Department of Public Works administration found out I could type quickly — and accurately — so they brought me into the office for extra help on school vacations.
Q: What got you involved in the political side of things?
A: I interned in college for former First Selectman Jacky Durrell and got interested in town politics and its history.
Q: Why did you decide to run for town clerk?
A: When Town Clerk Marguerite Toth said she was thinking about retiring, we thought it would be a natural fit since I had the knowledge and experience. It was a seamless transition.
Q: What are some things the town clerk does, and what are some of the things the town clerk has no control over that people call you about?
A: Every day is different in the Town Clerk’s office. The recording of land records is a vital function of our government. I’m also the Registrar of Vital Statistics so we have birth and death certificates, burial permits and marriage
licenses. We license about 4,000 dogs annually and issue hunting and fishing licenses to our sportsmen. We record and maintain military discharge papers, trade names, liquor permits, notaries public and record maps.
As clerk of the Representative Town Meeting, I publish the warning of the meeting and all the background material, as well as record the votes. Ordinances that are adopted by the RTM are also published in the Town Code.
I also administer election laws with the registrars of voters.
I have no control over: taxes; beach stickers; divorce papers; leaf pickup; working papers; parking permits or tickets.