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Clerks: The Secret Superhero

August 7, 2018
Image of woman in superhero cape with Clerks: The Secret Superhero title text above

The trials and tribulations of the daily grind can make just about anyone complacent--- making it easy to overlook the glimmers of goodness that happen all around us. But then sometimes a person, or even an act, can rise above the dull hum of everyday life to make you really take notice. You know, inspire you. These moments happen all too often when we’re with clerks.

Clerks are one-of—if not the most underrated positions in any government agency. Clerks have to balance the following on a daily basis:

  1. The process to ensure that their governments decision-making process is transparent to the public
  2. Compliance with federal, state, and local regulations—all of which are complex and ever changing
  3. AND they have to make sure that everything has been properly recorded.

As Legislative Admins, to Records Managers, to Elections Officials---clerks have a lot on their plates. Clerks really are superheroes.

We recently had an encounter with a superhero right in her own backyard. We had the honor of visiting the Middleborough, Massachusetts Town Hall this summer to hold a roundtable chat with Town Clerk and resident superhero, Allison Ferreira. Allison holds the title of Super Records Access Officer (RAO) and is responsible for setting policy concerning public records matters and for developing appropriate guidelines and procedures for responding to public record requests. She’s also a long-time NextRequest super-user and advocate.

After weeks of election and a town meeting prep, Allison finally got a small break and invited us to Middleborough to have a chat.

What transpired was a phenomenal presentation where Allison shared tips and tricks of the NextRequest FOIA software that she’s learned along the way. One particularly useful tip is how she’s established messaging templates that have wording to reflect the changes to Massachusetts laws. She also showed how the town’s multiple departments, including the Police and the Water Department, have been given access to NextRequest and are using it today.

In Massachusetts, all record requests must be fulfilled within 10 business days. Prior to using NextRequest, Allison and her team used to have to send out emails notifying individuals of timeframes and deadlines and not everyone was responsive. Allison said it was very easy to go beyond the 10 days. Now with NextRequest Allison is able to use “automatic reminders that populate, which I think are very helpful”

Allison’s expertise in her field, her ability to wear multiple hats, and her ability to make it all look effortless make her a superhero in our book. Get all the insights with her full presentation here.

If you or your agency are in need of a better way to manage your records requests, get in touch for a free demo or to start a conversation.