2017 Knox election: Tara Murphy for town clerk

KNOX — Tara Murphy, a Democrat, is running on the Democratic line for Knox town clerk.

Murphy, 40, has lived in Knox for the last 10 years. She is originally from Castleton-on-Hudson, in Rensselaer County, a “very similar small town,” to Knox, she said.

Murphy attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, where she received a degree in public communications and graphic design. It was here that she met her husband, who also came from a small town. The two settled on Knox when picking a new home.

“It just didn’t feel right not to live in a rural town,” she said.

Murphy was hired by the School Administrators Association of New York State, where she worked as a communications coordinator, designing and producing various media such as print, radio, and television advertisements.

After seven or eight years, Murphy was hired by the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, where she worked in admissions and as marketing director.

“It gave me a chance to work one-on-one with people,” she said, of the aspect of admissions in her job.

After Murphy’s son was was born in 2010, she left the admissions portion of her job, and eventually transitioned out as a consultant so she could work remotely for one more year.

“I wanted to make the transition to being with my son at home,” she said.

Murphy ran for town clerk in 2013. This will be her third time running for office.

Murphy said she found the role of town clerk to fit perfectly with her background in marketing and design and that the part-time job fit her schedule at home. She said she finds similarities in her interactions with people, as well.

“It is just a different atmosphere: one of education, and one of town government,” she said.

Murphy has created a new website for the town, and maintains that on a daily basis. She also has created social-media sites such as Twitter and Facebook for the town.

While she has used her background in design and marketing to create these, Murphy said she is proud of having recently applied for and gotten a grant, something she has never done before. The grant from New York State provides $23,000 for the town to organize and shelve its records. This will help purchase specific shelving for records and proper folders, as well as an archival scanner for scanning older documents.

Part of the process of reorganizing the town records will have Murphy updating the database, so that documents will be scanned, and have a specific shelf and box number that are assigned to it.

Should she be re-elected, she said her goal is to continue the process of archiving records.

“Everything I said I would set out to do, I did,” said Murphy, of these tasks.

Murphy said that the role of town clerk often leads her to being one-on-one with people, even if they don’t always agree. But the most difficult aspect can be taking minutes.

“The minutes are the most challenging part of the job,” she said of recording a written record of town meetings. She explained that, by law, only motions and votes on them have to be taken down.

“Then it only comes down to the clerk’s personal style,” she said.

Stylistically, Murphy doesn’t use quotes, she said. She has read other clerk’s minutes to get an idea of their styles.

Her process of writing the minutes, using both her notes and an audio recording of the meeting, as well as the various attachments added to the agenda, takes about two weeks, after which she sends them to the town board members and receives their feedback. She then determines if these should be included or not before the minutes are approved by the board a month later.

“I feel like it’s writing a college paper,” she said.


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