One year into her term as North Hempstead's Town Clerk, Linda Green is in the midst of dramatically upgrading the office's technology while at the same time cutting costs.
The North Hempstead Town Board's decision last month to retain UMC Imaging of Carle Place is in keeping with this policy. Her office, which issues and maintains all birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates, needed to find a more effective way to ensure the long-term integrity of these documents, according to the consultants who reviewed the town's situation.
Starting in early 1999, UMC Imaging will copy more than 250,000 birth, marriage, and death records onto a digital disk for efficient computer retrieval.
Green said, "When this project is completed, the retrieval time for records will be cut into a fraction of what it is today. In addition, we will have state-of-the-art microfilm images of all our documents placed in a secure off-site location for the town's vital statistics. All of this pays for itself. Instead of three full-time employees in this division, we will only need two."
Green said, "The Town Clerk's Office won't be laying off existing staff, but has chosen not to fill a budgeted position, a savings of more than $35,000 when you combine salary and benefits."
Looking back at 1998, her first full year in office, Green can point to a number of accomplishments, including a 17 percent reduction in the stenography costs incurred during town board meetings. The savings came about following a re-bidding of this contract, she said. Moreover, Town Clerk Green secured a $22,700 grant from the New York State Archives and Records Administration (SARA). The funds are earmarked for records retention initiatives.
The former assistant principal can not only be found at the town hall complex on Plandome Road, but also out on the road, whether it be meeting with the town's Village Clerks, talking with student groups about careers in government, or presiding at wedding ceremonies.
Green commented, "There are 30 villages situated within the town's borders so we hosted two meetings in 1998 for all of the Village Clerks in order to find ways in which we could work together. For the first time, village records stored at the North Hempstead Town Clerk's Office have been put on computer disks and distributed to village clerks for easy retrieval."
With more households linked to the World Wide Web, Town Clerk Green has also been posting Town Board agendas and decisions as http://www.northhempstead.com.
Town Clerk Green's "Women in Government" series took her last year to more than 25 schools in northern Nassau County, where she made presentations on governmental career opportunities for women.
Her remarks to the students, who ranged from grades 3-12, were then followed by an informal question and answer session.
Before becoming an assistant principal in 1991, she was an upper grade teacher and the longtime educator returning to the classroom periodically.
Finally, the town clerk is also empowered to preside at wedding ceremonies, a task that takes her all over North Hempstead. Yet those who choose to tie the knot at Town Hall can now do so in an official wedding chapel on the premises. The chapel's creation was undertaken at no cost to the taxpayers and certainly brightened what had been an underutilized storage room at 200 Plandome Road.
Green concluded: "Without a doubt, presiding at a wedding is one of the best parts of my job. There is another advantage to having North Hempstead's town clerk officiate at a civil ceremony. Long before they are off on their honeymoon, couples can rest assured that their marriage licenses will be filed at Town Hall."