Guest Spot: I am very proud of my service to Southold

I would like to give an accurate account of how my office served the public during the COVID-19 pandemic as of March 17, 2020. The operations of my office have never been closed. As an elected official, I was at my desk continually serving the public by phone, email, and through the back window of the office to the best of my ability. Under Governor Cuomo’s order, only two of my staff were allowed to work, only one at a time was allowed in the office with me, and one worked from home.

As many tasks as possible have been completed as usual. At the end of May 2020, two additional staff members were authorized to return to the office on a 50% alternation basis. From May 16, 2020 to October 15, 2020, my office began issuing drive-thru permits at the Town Hall Annex as well as at the Town Hall. The town hall has never been at a standstill.

As a city clerk for 24 years, I have worked tirelessly to bring technology not only to the city clerk’s office, but to all offices and departments across the city. In 1989, when the NYS Archives Local Government Records Management Grants Program was established, I began writing and submitting grant applications to the NYS Archives for funding. The first grants involved locating all city records in all city offices, inventorying and organizing them, and setting up on-site storage rooms in the basement.

This removed overflowing inactive records and allowed them to run more efficiently. The technology grants became available when I was elected city clerk in 1998. Some of the grants received were: Archive Writer Microfilming Machine; Laserfiche digital imaging system; large scale map scanner; book scanner for bound books; Municipal Land Management System (allowing ministries to manage the issuance of their permits); updating of the Cartographic Information System (GIS); RIO Laserfiche update (for digital forms and workflows).

In 1998, I initiated the city’s purchase of BAS Town Clerk Receipting Software (prior to that all receipts were handwritten). In 2003, I initiated the purchase by the city of the municipal clerk’s agenda / minutes / media traffic management systems. For the record, in 2018 I received the NYSED Archives Cheryl Steinbech Award for Excellence in Local Government Records Management. In 2009, the Suffolk Times ‘Public Service Person of the Year’ award and in 2008 the NYS Town Clerks Association ‘City Clerk of the Year’ award. All of the awards recognized many of my records management accomplishments.

I have never considered political party affiliation or given preferential treatment to a political party or to anyone in my office. I have always run my office in a strictly bipartisan fashion and have asked my staff to treat everyone equally. It has been an honor and pleasure to have served the people of the Town of Southold for the past fifty years (including twenty-four as City Clerk).

Ms Neville is the Clerk of Southold Town and is retiring after half a century of public service.

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