Seeking a third term; keeping the town up-to-date
Olga Murray is running for a third term as Islip Town clerk in the upcoming elections.
Murray, an Oakdale resident with a private law practice, also serves as president of the Nassau/Suffolk Town Clerk’s Association. She previously served as treasurer. Murray says her involvement with the association allows her to “network” and “keep up to date” with what other clerk’s offices are doing.
Technological improvements are among Murray’s biggest goals for the clerk’s office. She said shortly before being elected to a second term in 2015, the most significant change to the clerk’s office under her watch was the new computer system. The update, she previously stated, tracks each transition, follows and funds from beginning to end and provides more accountability.
In the last four years, the clerk’s office started a historical database, which Murray’s says contains about 6,800 items, ranging from documents and maps to pamphlets and postcards. “[It’s] really neat stuff,” she said.
Murray’s office has worked with the county’s Child Advocacy Center to help teach taxi businesses, and particularly drivers, to spot “indicators” of human trafficking—not just those being trafficked, but those doing the trafficking.
“The hope isn’t that someone will confront [the victim or perpetrator] but perhaps make a phone call [to the authorities],” she said.
Murray considers the “sheer volume” of material that her office handles as an achievement in itself. By the end of her second term, Murray estimates the office will have processed about 11,000 passports, 9,000 marriage licenses and 3,500 business licenses.
She noted some other “small things” that have been done to improve the office. Some staff members last year were trained in the scanning of “vital documents,” while this year others were trained to give CPR.
Murray also hopes, in the near future, to enroll the office staff in a sensitivity training course that focuses on dealing with individuals suffering from memory impairments. She says it isn’t uncommon for individuals to walk into the office and struggle to understand why they’re there. “It’s more prevalent during tax season,” the clerk said.
In addition, Murray is finalizing the purchase of a pilot program that allows residents to file certain documents online. “Some [documents], like a marriage license, you’re still required to [physically] show up to the office,” she added. “But at least it’s going to reduce some of the wait time [in the office].”
She also noted that one of the biggest jobs for the clerk’s office is recording and maintaining the town board’s minutes and votes, along with maintaining any documentation regarding town board matters. These items, she specified, are discussed and obtained during the town’s board, planning and zoning meetings.
In addition to various town services like plowing roads and picking up garbage, she said, maintaining the aforementioned items is a “core function” of town governance. “That’s what [townships] started as,” she said.