Brookhaven Town Clerk Donna Lent

Donna Lent Earth Day 2017 Martin Luther King Luncheon 2017 Mural 2017When Brookhaven Town Clerk Donna Lent was elected in 2013, she brought to the table a wealth of experience that helped cultivate an office that has been transformed into an efficient operation to serve constituents.

Lent, a registered member of the Independence Party who was cross-endorsed by the GOP is an independently elected official. She previously served as Chief Deputy Town Clerk under former Town Clerk Patricia Eddington in 2010. Prior to that, when Eddington was elected to the New York State Assembly, Lent served as Eddington’s Chief of Staff for nine years from 2000 until 2009 supervising operations of the local district office and Capitol office.

Lent offered to give a descript accounting of the duties of the office of Brookhaven Town Clerk. As the official secretary to the town board, she manages public speaking comment, records votes at town board meetings and maintains the schedule of public hearings which involve legal and proper publishing and notification.

From a statistical standpoint, the Town Clerk’s Office maintains a host of records management including but not limited to licenses for marriages which total approximately 6,000 annually, birth certificates which amount to an estimated 8,000 a year, records management and registrar, death certificates and a boat slip waiting list which Lent has managed to dwindle down significantly from an all-time high prior to her taking office.  She is the FOILS Appeals Officer, the filing officer and maintains records of oaths and resignations of officers of the board. She is the custodian of town records in a Records Management Office that spans over 20,000 square feet.

“I have a responsibility as Town Clerk and I don’t take it lightly,” Lent says of her work ethic. “I’m at work every day being very involved in the Town Clerk’s Office and I am hands-on.” But the scope and magnitude of the Town Clerk’s Office is far-reaching and multi-faceted, and Lent is quick to acknowledge and credit her staff of 33 full-time and part-time employees as an integral and significant component of the efficient day-to-day operations of the office. “These are wonderful, highly-skilled and dedicated employees who take pride in what they do,” Lent said. “The number of full-time people in this office has been reduced since I first arrived, so not only are we doing more with less, but,” Lent said, “we’re also more efficient.” That “efficiency” includes having departmentalized the office into a Licensing Section, Registrar Section and Administrative Section that includes issuing Land Use Applications. “My staff is really great and everyone is cross-trained,” Lent explained. “Morale is very important.”

In streamlining the Town Clerk’s Office, Lent established a Central Scanning Repository when the town purchased its own scanner 18 months ago. Implementation of the $6.5 million scanning project involved scanning the town’s records, close to 20 million of them, of which Lent became project manager. For instance, in the Building Department, if 500 building permits are ordered, the process which was previously done manually and would take up to three days is now accomplished through an electronic filing system where permits are scanned within 20 seconds. “We maintain a Vacant Homes Registry and as well as a Marina Wait List,” Lent said,

It is the once-controversial 12 to 14-year Marina Wait List that has been trimmed from thousands to a few hundred at Brookhaven Town’s various marinas. According to statistics reported by Lent, the Marina Wait List at press time has been trimmed as follows: Port Jefferson went from a wait list of 1,200 to 546; Mt. Sinai went from a wait list of 1,200 to 578, Corey Beach went from a wait list from 500 to 10. “The Marina Wait List is now published on-line, and it’s all about transparency and with no exceptions,” Lent said. “I asked Brookhaven Town for a tightened code change so that the rules are enforced and they are fair to everyone,” Lent said.

In yet another intricate series of procedures, Lent oversaw the election process for Mastic Beach to become an incorporated village in August 2010. “I had to oversee the transfer of all records, and now, (with the dissolution of the village reverting it back to town governance), I have to take them back,” Lent explained,

Lent, who is seeking re-election in November, says she serves Brookhaven’s 574,000 residents “with great pride” in a township that is geographically the largest in the state and second largest by population, and the 82nd largest city in the United States.


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