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Candidates line up for City Clerk position

Date: 1/18/2013

By Katelyn Gendron

HOLYOKE — Two of the candidates for Holyoke's City Clerk are already calling for significant modification and modernization of the office currently held by Susan Egan, who is not seeking re-election.

City Councilor Brenna McGee and Dori Dean, Mayor Alex Morse's former chief of staff, told Reminder Publications they believe the Clerk's Office is currently using outmoded software and practices and, if elected, plan to implement new measures to increase efficiency for personnel and residents alike. McGee and Dean are two of the three candidates who've announced their intention to run in addition to Louise Bisson, assistant city clerk.

"One of my priorities will be to work towards modernizing the City Clerk's office," McGee said. "I believe that I have a better understanding than most about the constraints we are facing from a budget perspective but having managed several employees at the State House, I believe we can make incremental steps to help bring the office along and get to a point where we are better coordinated with the various city departments and well as making it easier and more efficient for businesses to get started within our city."

Dean said during her time as chief of staff, she presented Egan with several software vendors in an effort to streamline technology, however, none were implemented. "Somebody needs to be aware of this technology and know how to us it," she added.

When asked to elaborate on her plans for changes to the office, Dean said, "I plan to increase voter access, decreasing participation disparities, and [implement] election reform. I do have drill down [points] but I don't want everybody to repeat my message right now."

She was quick to note that she would release a more detailed platform at her campaign kickoff on March 4 at a venue to be determined.

When asked what qualifications put them over the top, Dean said it is her experience in the mayor's office as well as her educational background; she earned a master's degree in science from Bay Path College and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. McGee said her time serving city and state government makes her the most qualified candidate.

"I believe that my time as a city councilor is definitely a plus because of my knowledge of our city ordinances as well as our city charter, which includes my role as chairwoman of the council's Charter and Rules Committee," McGee explained. "Additionally, I believe that the five years I served as chief of staff for [former state] Rep. Michael Kane has made me the only candidate in the race who has the background and understanding from a legislative point of view which includes the state ethics rules, state election laws, and Open Meeting Laws."

Nomination papers are due by July 23 for the Sept. 17 preliminary election — if necessary — and the Nov. 5 general election.

Multiple requests to interview Bisson were not granted.