Challenger Donna Held is running against Incumbent Paul
Piperato for the county clerk’s post in the Tuesday,
Nov. 5th General Election. Held has the Republican and Independence
Party lines. Piperato is on the Democratic, Conservative and Working Families
Patch sent questionnaires to both candidates who provided the following responses.
1. Why did you decide to run for election?
When the Rockland County Republican Committee asked me to run, I accepted because I could make a positive change for the future of Rockland County.
I am running for re-election for Rockland County Clerk. I have been county clerk since January 1, 2006.
2. What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve as county clerk? Have you run or held elected office previously?
I believe I am highly qualified to hold the office of the Rockland County Clerk. In my profession of Process Serving I routinely do research using the computer systems of the Rockland County Clerk. As a county resident I know the shortcomings of the computer systems and services within the office.
Working with so many attorneys within the county we routinely discuss shortcomings within the County Clerks office. I have run previously for other offices within the county. Within the Clarkstown Republican Committee I have been a Committee Member, District Leader, Area Leader, and Executive Assistant to the Board.
Prior to becoming County Clerk, I served for 16 years as deputy county clerk. During that 16 years and prior to becoming county clerk I served eight years as a councilman in the Town of Haverstraw, four of which I was deputy supervisor.
As county clerk I am the custodian of county records and clerk to the county and supreme courts. The county clerk position is a state constitutional office and elected every four years. I am in my second term.
3. What are the top three issues facing county residents?
Lack of updated technology, ease of use for the general public.
Lack of security protocols to prevent fraud.
Lack of protocols for freedom of information forms concerning privacy.
I serve as county clerk with three objectives: service, accessibility and providing a cost efficient governmental department. I feel I have accomplished much of that and more.
We are a leader throughout the state in technology. We offer to our residents, a 24/7 operation through our website and lead the state in offering electronic filing of our court records and real property records.
Being county clerk is my full time job and I take pride in being available 24/7. As a public service we must make ourselves available to our residents.
4. What are your plans for addressing these issues?
Upgrade the software to help with ease of use for county residents, including adding smartphone and tablet applications, data mining software, and a kiosk for unclaimed funds.
Create a system of checks utilizing new software to help identify anomalies within the county, and by identifying fraud through transparency.
We will have a comprehensive set of protocols determining what information is allowed to be given out and private information will be kept Private.
We will be moving to a cloud technology in 2014, this will strengthen our disaster preparedness and enable us to set up our office operation anywhere we might need to.
We take identity theft very seriously, that’s why we have a program called Property Check that will allow our residents to sign up, for free, and get notified anytime there is a transaction involving their name in my office.
I am also very proud that the FAVOR program, which is a veteran discount program, originated here in Rockland and has been duplicated throughout New York State.
5. How do you differentiate yourself from your opponent’s platform?
As the first woman County Clerk I will have a new and fresh perspective. Once you have been in a position without change for 24 years you become so comfortable with the way things are that you become blind to the changes that are needed and all my ideas are new, fresh and creative.
My opponent claims our technology is obsolete, but on the contrary we have the most up to date, tested, cost effective technology available.
6. If elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?
I want to advance the technology within Rockland County Clerks Office to keep up to today’s standards and adapting always to the current times. This will give the residents the best possible service and make the office.
My goal in the next four years is to work with other county departments to move toward a paperless operation. Going in this direction improves efficiencies and creates a cost effective operation and saves money for the county.
I am proud that we operate at no cost to the taxpayers and we have received over $600,000 in record retention grants from the state. Again no taxpayer dollars all grant monies are raised through user fees and made available by the state to apply for. These grant monies have enabled us to make available by December 2014 all records dating back to our start in 1798 on our computers in the office and our website.
7. Incumbents: Do you have other employment or own a business in addition to your elected post? Challengers: What is your current employment and will that change if elected?
I am currently a Process Server within the County of Rockland and if elected I will focus on the betterment of the County of Rockland.
Being County Clerk is my full time job. I do not have another job.