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New Easton Town Clerk: We Can Always Revert to Paper

Christine Halloran has taken office, but the software issue between former town clerk, Derek Buckley, and the town remains unresolved.

Town Clerk Christine Halloran at her desk at Easton Town Hall.
Town Clerk Christine Halloran at her desk at Easton Town Hall.
Town Clerk Christine Halloran worked at the desk inside her office at Easton Town Hall on her second day on the job Tuesday. Only a couple of notices were tacked onto the cork board on the wall behind her and boxes of thick binders with paper records were stacked high a few feet away.

The outgoing town clerk, Derek Buckley, says he owns the computer software and told First Selectman Adam Dunsby he will take it with him if the town cannot reach an agreement to buy or lease it from him. The issue will be taken up at the Board of Selectman meeting on Jan. 16.

In the meantime, Halloran said only one of the four computers in her office are fully functioning and the server is being kept in a locked closet at the Easton Senior Center, where the director, Buckley's wife Val, has the key.

"And they're out of town," Halloran said. "If they don't work something out, I'm pursuing three of the most used software companies in Connecticut. We need to move forward."

One of her campaign promises is for records to be accessible online. Halloran said the first selectman is trying to improve the town website, which will have Town Clerk's Office information. Currently, the Town Clerk's website is linked to the Easton Senior Center's site.

She is already changing the hours of operation to 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Under Buckley, the staff arrived at 8 a.m. and the office was open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., then the staff worked for a half hour longer behind closed doors, according to Halloran.

She also plans to network more with town clerks offices in surrounding towns.

"Other towns didn't network as much with Easton," Halloran said. "I want to change that. We're close neighbors."

'A Cursory Tour'

Prior to leaving office, Derek Buckley showed Halloran around.

"I met with Derek and his attorney last Tuesday morning and he gave me a cursory tour around the office with general information," Halloran said.

She said Buckley told her there were icons on her computer screen for shortcuts and showed her how to access information, but when she came in for her first day Halloran said the screen had no icons.

"Hopefully it's there and I can find the shortcuts," she said. "It says, 'Moved' or 'Changed' on one computer, which is not usable. With the other three we have, we can't access information and it hasn't been updated from the last week. We input some information yesterday and they didn't show up."

The tech person for town hall is coming early next week to try to fix some of the computer issues, according to Halloran.

Halloran said she was also left with a blank cork board, which she is starting to fill up with important notices and reminders of things to do.

She said she wants to put together a manual for day-to-day operations with dates for things such as dog licenses, so if she is ever out of the office a sub can know what needs to be done.

Learning On the Job

This is Halloran's first job as a town clerk and she is learning from the "Handbook for Connecticut Town Clerks" and a mentoring program, while leaning on the years of experience of full-time clerk Joan Kirk and part-timer Deborah Szegedi.

She said Kirk and Szegedi have been welcoming and extremely helpful in her first days.

"We're rearing to go into the New Year," Halloran said. "I'm very happy with the staff in the office. They are pleasant and approachable. They will bend over backwards to help people.

"I'm just hoping we can resolve these software issues and get things back up to speed within a reasonable time. But the office is functioning. We can always revert to paper."

Currently, Christine Halloran's email address is challoran@eastonct.gov. She said she will eventually have the address townclerk@eastonct.gov.
Hmmmm January 08, 2014 at 07:31 AM
The votes spoke and Mr. Buckley's fiefdom as Easton Town Clerk has ended. But his complete lack of professionalism and common decency continues to be appalling. At least he's not holding town information hostage at his wife's place of employment -- oh wait, never mind.
Watchdog group January 08, 2014 at 08:02 AM
We're going to demand accountability and oversight for Mr. Buckley's nefarious actions! His sexy British accent and the glint in his eyes won't be able to get him out of this one!
Matthew Olson January 08, 2014 at 10:22 AM
He is accountable to his boss. The fact that Mr Buckley's boss let Derek create his own autonomous position in the first place is hugely suspect. This is one of the largest no-no's in business today because it has such a high propensity for fraud. Christine Halloran is right to be looking for state approved software and converting EVERYTHING to that, to keep everything in this office above board, not to mention the need to have easier succession. These issues are not about slandering Derek Buckley, but about proper professional ediquette in any business office. I'm amazed that something this blatant happened in Easton.
hal January 08, 2014 at 11:28 AM
I'm not.
Observer January 08, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Me neither. This all started years ago when two of the sitting selectmen, Centrella and Lessler, agreed with then first selectman Kupinse that Buckley would be allowed to "own" any software he developed. A bad decision that unsurprisingly led to the current impasse. And don't forget that Buckley has had the poster child of unprofessional business etiquette - Tom Herrmann - as first selectman over the past six years.
Robert E. Moran January 10, 2014 at 11:54 PM
Get Libreoffice - it's free. http://www.libreoffice.org/ It has all the tools you need and it runs on everything.

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