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Town Clerk, Staff Striving For Professional Development, Certifications

All Connecticut town clerks are elected. But as far as any other requirement to learn or acquire skills to do a better job on behalf of their communities, there are no further requirements.

That hasn’t stopped Newtown Town Clerk Debbie Halstead and members of her staff from striving to pursue higher levels of training and certification. As Newtown’s top administrative official, Ms Halstead recently became Connecticut’s 13th Master Certified Town Clerk.

Staffers Aileen Nosal and Renee Weimann are also pursuing added professional development, having recently earned their Certified Town Clerk designations.

First Selectman Pat Llodra said she appreciates that town clerk’s office representatives are seeking more professional training on behalf of the many Newtown residents and others who utilize their services every day.

“It’s a credit to all our residents that Debbie and her staff are pursuing this additional training,” Mrs Llodra said. “It also serves as a model for all our municipal departments. They are setting a good example for all of us.”

Ms Halstead said it took her three years to surpass the first level of official development, to become a Certified Connecticut Town Clerk. She spent another three years completing her Certified Municipal Town Clerk designation.

She then continued to fulfill criteria to eventually earn her Certified Municipal Clerk title. She is well on the way to achieving a top global designation.

“My ultimate goal is to become a Master Municipal Town Clerk,” Ms Halstead said. This certification, awarded by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, literally qualifies Newtown’s town clerk to assume similar duties where they exist anywhere in the world.

“The training has ranged from human resources development, to strategic planning, to tracking legislation, to becoming a part of the legislative process,” Ms Halstead said.

That training was invaluable last year when Ms Halstead and her staff worked to change Connecticut law regarding the types of personal information that is available to the public on death records. While that effort was ultimately unsuccessful, through her training and the experience she acquired during the process, Ms Halstead feels comfortable engaging in state and legislative-level deliberations.

“I felt comfortable working with each different group that was involved in the legislative process,” she said. “My training was very helpful in moving our agenda to the extent that we were able.”

Her work would have had immediate impact on behalf of the victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook School shooting, but would have also better protected specific personal information on death certificates of all Connecticut residents.

Beyond what she learned in the classroom, and at local, regional, national, and international seminars, Ms Halstead said the contacts and networking she has done has provided her with a massive amount of knowledge.

“Being involved in so much training has been great, but the networking I’ve been able to do has provided me and Newtown with the ultimate support system,” she said. The local clerk now watches as her peers in Connecticut and across the nation launch new or improved initiatives involving the hundreds of official responsibilities and mandated record maintenance practices her profession demands.

“If I see something I think will be good for Newtown, I watch how other towns or cities are implementing new practices and technologies, and I learn the best ways to make them work here,” she said.

Ms Halstead also has a global network of contacts to “bounce ideas off of,” she said. She has also developed professional relationships with attorneys, elected officials, and other critical contacts like members of the State Library and Freedom of Information Commission.

“Once I establish these relationships, I have specific people I can call on when I’m trying to get things done on behalf of Newtown residents,” Ms Halstead said. Newtown’s clerk is also excited that 2015 will welcome the International Town and Municipal Clerk’s Conference to Hartford.

“I’m looking forward to meeting a lot more of my colleagues from around the country and the world,” she said. During the 2013 conference in Atlantic City, Ms Halstead developed contacts across the country, as well as friendships among clerks from Calgary, Canada, Les Papillon, France, and the Netherlands.

“I love this job, so I am trying to take any and every type of professional development opportunity available,” she said. “I just want to be the best town clerk for Newtown. The voters invested in me by putting me in this office three times, so I want to give them the best in return.”

All Connecticut town clerks are elected. But as far as any other requirement to learn or acquire skills to do a better job on behalf of their communities, there are no further requirements.

That hasn’t stopped Newtown Town Clerk Debbie Halstead and members of her staff from striving to pursue higher levels of training and certification. As Newtown’s top administrative official, Ms Halstead recently became Connecticut’s 13th Master Certified Town Clerk.

Staffers Aileen Nosal and Renee Weimann are also pursuing added professional development, having recently earned their Certified Town Clerk designations.

First Selectman Pat Llodra said she appreciates that town clerk’s office representatives are seeking more professional training on behalf of the many Newtown residents and others who utilize their services every day.

“It’s a credit to all our residents that Debbie and her staff are pursuing this additional training,” Mrs Llodra said. “It also serves as a model for all our municipal departments. They are setting a good example for all of us.”

Ms Halstead said it took her three years to surpass the first level of official development, to become a Certified Connecticut Town Clerk. She spent another three years completing her Certified Municipal Town Clerk designation.

She then continued to fulfill criteria to eventually earn her Certified Municipal Clerk title. She is well on the way to achieving a top global designation.

“My ultimate goal is to become a Master Municipal Town Clerk,” Ms Halstead said. This certification, awarded by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, literally qualifies Newtown’s town clerk to assume similar duties where they exist anywhere in the world.

“The training has ranged from human resources development, to strategic planning, to tracking legislation, to becoming a part of the legislative process,” Ms Halstead said.

That training was invaluable last year when Ms Halstead and her staff worked to change Connecticut law regarding the types of personal information that is available to the public on death records. While that effort was ultimately unsuccessful, through her training and the experience she acquired during the process, Ms Halstead feels comfortable engaging in state and legislative-level deliberations.

“I felt comfortable working with each different group that was involved in the legislative process,” she said. “My training was very helpful in moving our agenda to the extent that we were able.”

Her work would have had immediate impact on behalf of the victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook School shooting, but would have also better protected specific personal information on death certificates of all Connecticut residents.

Beyond what she learned in the classroom, and at local, regional, national, and international seminars, Ms Halstead said the contacts and networking she has done has provided her with a massive amount of knowledge.

“Being involved in so much training has been great, but the networking I’ve been able to do has provided me and Newtown with the ultimate support system,” she said. The local clerk now watches as her peers in Connecticut and across the nation launch new or improved initiatives involving the hundreds of official responsibilities and mandated record maintenance practices her profession demands.

“If I see something I think will be good for Newtown, I watch how other towns or cities are implementing new practices and technologies, and I learn the best ways to make them work here,” she said.

Ms Halstead also has a global network of contacts to “bounce ideas off of,” she said. She has also developed professional relationships with attorneys, elected officials, and other critical contacts like members of the State Library and Freedom of Information Commission.

“Once I establish these relationships, I have specific people I can call on when I’m trying to get things done on behalf of Newtown residents,” Ms Halstead said. Newtown’s clerk is also excited that 2015 will welcome the International Town and Municipal Clerk’s Conference to Hartford.

“I’m looking forward to meeting a lot more of my colleagues from around the country and the world,” she said. During the 2013 conference in Atlantic City, Ms Halstead developed contacts across the country, as well as friendships among clerks from Calgary, Canada, Les Papillon, France, and the Netherlands.

“I love this job, so I am trying to take any and every type of professional development opportunity available,” she said. “I just want to be the best town clerk for Newtown. The voters invested in me by putting me in this office three times, so I want to give them the best in return.”

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