Letter: Jim Hegarty running for Town Clerk (Updated)

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com.]

To the Editor:

My name is Jim Hegarty and I am running for the position of Town Clerk which was held by Paul Berry who recently retired after serving the Town admirably for the past 46 years.

Why am I running?
I am a candidate because I enjoy public service and helping others. The skills I learned over my 29 year career as an FBI Special Agent match the skills needed to be Town Clerk: working professionally and tactfully with people from all walks of life, using organizational skills, working with multiple regulations and laws, dealing with evidence and document storage issues and sharing information online.

Trust, integrity and discretion
I will call it as I see it, follow the law, and treat every citizen with respect. I will ALWAYS be on watch for the citizens of Southborough. I have a demonstrated history of working well with other groups, and reaching a consensus so we achieve the best results for Southborough. 

9/11 Memorial Field
When Town boards decided in 2014 to close the 9/11 Memorial Field, I took the initiative to research the issues including historical field usage, other alternatives, construction costs and bond financing options. I presented a plan to keep the field open by raising user fees which would cover 100 % of the costs to replace the turf field. The same boards that had initially supported closing the field changed their position and supported keeping the field open. I proposed a Citizen’s Petition at Town Meeting which the voters overwhelmingly approved. I’ll bring this same level of effort to research, engaging in open dialogue and building consensus in all matters to the position of Town Clerk.

Knowledge of Town Operations
My volunteer work for the Town has given me a solid understanding of Town departments and Committees. I will ensure that all operations of the Clerk’s office are in compliance with all laws and regulations. In addition, I will take on the challenges of upgrading online services and providing as much information as is allowed by law to residents online.

Preparation I have conducted for this position
In addition to speaking with Paul Berry and the two excellent people working in our Town Clerk’s office, I have also spent considerable time visiting with the Town Clerks in Framingham, Ashland and Northborough to learn from their experiences and how their departments operate. I also visited the Secretary of State’s office to learn more about the upcoming state mandated changes to how we vote under a proposed “Early Voting” law which will allow people to cast a vote on others days of the week, when in the past, we would traditionally vote on a Tuesday. This change would be similar to how the state of Florida votes.

Professional Background
FBI Special Agent (retired after 29 years of service). Served in North Carolina, New York City and Boston

  • Worked with highly sensitive personal information requiring discretion, tact and privacy
  • Researched federal laws, agency regulations, policies, and guidelines to ensure compliance
  • Investigated complex cases including cyber-crimes, public corruption, espionage and terrorism
  • Developed storage retention and evidence procedures for drug and valuable
  • Worked on task force that consolidated nationwide databases for drug and organized crime
  • Supervised the Cyber Investigation and Computer Forensic squad

Gillette Company (1979-1984) Accountant, supervised 2 departments.

Education: Babson College, BS in Management, Accounting major

My wife Salli and I have lived on Maplecrest Drive since 1992. Our 3 children all attended Southborough Public Schools, Algonquin Regional High School and the United States Naval Academy. Emily and Liz are currently serving as officers in the Navy and Bill is a junior at the United States Naval Academy.

Volunteer Activity – Southborough
Southborough Advisory Committee (2009 – present)
Recreation Commission (2007 – 2009)
NSYLA Boys’ Lacrosse coach (2005 – present)
ARHS Girls’ JV Lacrosse coach (2014 – present)
Fire Department Rescue Truck Committee (2013)

Volunteer Activity – community
United States Naval Academy– admissions interviewer
Babson College – Coaching for Leadership
Habitat for Humanity – ReStore

I am honored to have the support and endorsement of so many Southborough residents who volunteer their time and effort to our Town.

  • Susan Baust, Member, Public Works Planning Committee
  • Laurie Bourdon, President, Breakneck Hill Cow Fund
  • John Butler, Member, Southborough Advisory Committee
  • Roger Challen, Member, Southborough School Committee
  • Janice Conlin, Former Town Administrator
  • Thomas Conlin, Member, Southborough Council on Aging
  • Kathy Cook, Treasurer, Southborough Education Foundation
  • Paul Desmond, Chair, Southborough School Committee
  • Robert Flynn, President Northborough/Southborough Youth Lacrosse Association
  • Michael Garand, Assistant Boy Scout Troop Leader, Troop 92
  • Salvatore Giorlandino, Former Chair, Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Martin Healey, Chair, Main Street Design Working Group
  • Joseph Hubley, Chair, Historical Commission
  • Joseph Laning, Former Chair, Southborough Recreation Commission
  • Robin Martin, Co-Founder Southborough Summer Nights, Southborough Community Fund, board member
  • Nicki Mauro, Member, Southborough Advisory Committee
  • Andrew Mills, Member, Community Space Preservation Committee
  • Steven Morreale, Chair, Personnel Board
  • Donald Morris, Chair, Planning Board
  • Mark Murphy, Member, Recreation Commission
  • Kathleen A. Harragan Polutchko, Member, Northborough/Southborough Regional School Committee
  • Claire Reynolds, Member, Main Street Design Working Group
  • Christopher Robbins, Member, Economic Development Commission
  • Marybeth R. Strickland, Member, Southborough School Committee
  • John Wood, Member, Public Safety Study Committee

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter to the editor. Please take a moment to watch the video of the Town Clerk presentation held at Candidate Night at the Library:

Thank you!

Jim Hegarty
(774) 232-2332 cell

Updated (5/6/15 10:35 am): Fixed a typo in the intro that was my fault, not Hegarty’s. (Before his letter was posted, he asked me to change one of the first sentences. I made an error in execution.)

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Liz Henry-Veeneman
9 years ago

Jim Hegarty would be a terrific Town Clerk. In my experience, he’s a stand-up guy whose integrity, intelligence, and judgment I absolutely trust.

Jim offers us the ideal qualities of a Town Clerk. His technological expertise is a top priority in the mission to modernize and automate the many functions of the Town Clerk, and the value of his experience in the FBI and all his service on Town committees cannot be overstated. He thoroughly understands federal and state statutes, as well as the practicalities of our Town government. Beyond that, he’s approachable, insightful, diplomatic, warm, and above all, helpful. Jim genuinely likes people.

I know Jim from our kids’ soccer years, from teaching Jim and Salli’s awesome daughters at Trottier, and from other community efforts over the years, and I value his essential decency, intuition, and candor. There is no exaggeration on Jim’s campaign flier, and his list of volunteer efforts is impressive. He’s done a lot for this community.

There’s much more he could have included on his flier. Long after his kids moved on to high school, he contributed his time and energy to Trottier, conducting exciting assemblies on the inner workings of the FBI, chaperoning events and field trips, and even recruiting an agent from a high-profile case to talk to all our kids. Special Agent Hegarty was always a hot ticket on Career Days, even more for his talents as a raconteur than for the night-vision cameras.

Once, when I asked him to talk with a young man considering an FBI career, Jim not only met with him, but gave him a tour of Boston’s FBI office and gave him the opportunity to talk with other agents. He didn’t have to do that, but I’ve never seen him stop at “have to.”

Jim will bring that same above-and-beyond ethic to his position as Town Clerk, too.

Liz Henry-Veeneman
10 Flagg Road

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