Town Clerk, 'Excited' About 3-Year Term, Says Door Open to Councilors With Concerns
The Town Council approved the re-appointment of Braintree Town Clerk Joe Powers to a three-year term earlier this month on a narrow vote.
Town Clerk Joe Powers said he is "very happy" to be able to serve Braintree for at least another three years following his re-appointment earlier this month, and looks forward to growing as a clerk and completing a vault restoration he kick-started to preserve the town's historic records.
The Town Council approved Powers' re-appointment over concerns from three councilors, who said the council should have looked more thoroughly into problems in Powers' office before voting. The councilors – Leland Dingee, John Mullaney and Henry Joyce – declined to be more specific about the allegations, but said they were human resources-related.
Powers, in an interview last week, denied knowledge of the problems the councilors alluded to and said that if they had any issues "my door is always open." Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin declined to confirm or deny that there were any human resources issues in the clerk's office.
The Town Clerk's office has a wide range of responsibilities, from licensing dogs and issuing birth and death certificates to compiling a local census and maintaining campaign finance reports. Powers served as Braintree's clerk from 2000 to 2003 and was re-appointed in 2009, in between working in the financial industry and running in Braintree's first mayoral race.
Powers has also served as chair of the School Committee, was the Town Moderator and was a member of the Board of Selectmen.
He was unable to attend the council meeting earlier this month because he was completing a three-year certification program from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Following that, Powers will receive a corresponding professional designation.
"To me, it's all about professional development and challenging myself to grow," Powers said.
The continued education benefits Braintree because Powers is able to extend his network of municipal and expert contacts and also hone his skills in various subject areas, such as parliamentary procedure, he said. The three-year program cost Braintree only $25 as the rest was covered by Powers' personal funding and scholarships.
Councilors will go over the Town Clerk job description at a future meeting after tabling the discussion because Powers was not available. Aside from HR concerns, Councilor John Mullaney mentioned during the previous meeting that Powers had been asked to perform a task he did not normally perform and the clerk responded that his job description should be changed.
Powers disputed that account, saying that the description is open before the council but that he did not make a specific request for change.