|VERMONT SECRETARY OF STATE - Jim Condos|
|State of Vermont
Office of the
Secretary of State
Volume 4 Number 10
At the end of the American Revolution there was a (very) minor effort to make Hebrew the official language of the United States. The idea was to break all ties with Great Britain by ending our common reliance on English and to emphasize our special status as a chosen people. That effort was obscured by the attempts of Noah Webster and others to Americanize English as a less complicated way of asserting our uniqueness.
We, of course, continue to use language to heighten commonalties and confirm our distinctiveness. Professions are notorious for developing language through which practitioners can both recognize each other and exclude outsiders. This is, alas, as true of archivists as it is of doctors, lawyers, educators and other professional practitioners
These thoughts emerged as the Vermont Historical Records Advisory Board (VHRAB) wraps up the records grant program for municipal clerks and others. Participating clerks were visited by an archivist, who helped assess the office's recordkeeping practices (particularly in terms of preservation and conservation). Each clerk was then required to develop an action plan for addressing the identified needs.
The final surveys are trickling into the office, unencumbered by the anticipated action plans. Inquiries after the missing action plans elicited several common responses from the burdens of daily work demands to unfamiliarity with either action plans or archival terminology concerning preservation. It is not that all those terms are complex but rather, if you have never done one, how do you craft an action plan and what should be in it?
This is a valid concern. An action plan, for all of us, not simply the participating clerks, is essential for moving from generalities to specific steps toward achieving a goal. Once you have identified a set of needs, you prioritize among them to determine in what order they will be addressed, within what specific time frames. Your greatest priority might be an adequate vault in terms of size and environment, but that is a costly and time-consuming step. Monitoring the vault environment and measuring the use (wear and tear) of certain records is a simpler step that can help document the importance and cost effectiveness of building a new vault. Therefore an action plan might identify a new vault as a long term goal, and then lay out a series of small steps that can help build toward that goal (buy an instrument for monitoring temperature and humidity fluctuations within the vault, develop user forms that indicate number of volumes used, copied, etc).
To facilitate some of the action steps, the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance, under a VHRAB grant, has begun developing plain language explanations of preservation issues and simple fill in the blank forms. Any clerk wishing to develop an action plan to improve the condition of his or her records should visit the VMGA site and download the forms. They can be found at: http://www.vmga.org/aboutVMGA/memberpage/RecIntro.html
Tip of the Month
LAND RECORDS & VAULT
We have a computer printout, in one 3 ring binder, which shows all recording from April 1997 to December 31, 2001 by both GranTOR and GranTEE. We no longer are able to keep up with the filing of index cards so as of January 1, 2002 we print out both a GranTOR and GranTEE listing of all recording from January 1, 2002 to the present.
We also store in a 3 ring binder all Vermont Property Transfer Tax Returns from April 1st to March 31st with alpha index dividers by seller; we store two years in one binder then they are filed in a file folder.
Several notices are posted on the vault door. First, a list of tax rates from 1985 to present broken down by municipal and school tax and percentage of Fair Market Value. Secondly, a current tax year rate broken down between state and local school share and the municipal versus last year’s rates. Also is a listing of "Information for Title Searching", information on land record volumes, survey maps, liens and attachments, UCC, vital records, lister cards and hours, zoning files and hours.
We also collect $ 2.00 an hour (minimum) for vault time and of course the $ 1.00 per page for land records.
Lastly, we print our NEMRC Grand List/Tax book and put it in sheet protectors (back to back) and display it on the counter in a catalog rack, which is at a 45-degree angle. This saves wear and tear on the pages and you don’t break your back bending over all the time. We also display in this rack a list of delinquent tax accounts as of the first of month, for more information they contact the Delinquent Tax Collector.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful, we have implemented some of them at the suggestion of title searchers who have told me they like the idea of everything being together in one place.
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If you have a tip that you would like to
share in a future Opinions newsletter please send it to: Dencie L. Mitchell, Grand Isle Town Clerk
& Treasurer Or email it to her at
If you have a tip that you would like to share in a future Opinions newsletter please send it to:
Dencie L. Mitchell, Grand Isle Town Clerk
Or email it to her firstname.lastname@example.org
October 1: Town clerks receive at least five copies of the warning
and notice for each polling place in the town (at least five days before
they must be posted). Blanks should be filled in on each warning by the
town clerk, listing the polling place, address and the time polls open in
each town. 17 V.S.A. ' 2521(b).
Last day, until noon, for people who are not eligible to register by this date but who will be by election to file a written notice of intent to apply with the town clerk. 17 V.S.A. § 2144(b).
Last day for town clerks to receive a request for an application for addition to the checklist accompanying an early or absentee ballot request. 17 V.S.A. § 2532(b) and (c).
The board of civil authority must meet between this day and the day of the election for the purpose of revising the checklist unless the town has voted at a special or annual meeting to allow the town clerk to add names to the checklist. 17 V.S.A. § 2142.
Last day for town clerks to post sample ballots in the same places they
have previously posted copies of the warning and notice and checklist. 17
V.S.A. § 2522(a).
During the 8 days preceding the election and on election day, the clerk shall divide the list of ill and physically disabled voters into as many equal parts as there are pairs of designated justices, and deliver those lists to the justices, together with early or absentee ballots and envelopes. 17 V.S.A. § 2538(b).
November 2: Last day for the board of civil authority
to designate pairs of justices of the peace, assuring political balance in
each pair, to deliver early or early or absentee ballots to ill and
physically disabled voters (not later than three days before the
election). 17 V.S.A. § 2538(a).
The presiding officer of each polling place must also post a copy of the warning and notice, sample ballots and the current checklist in a conspicuous place in each polling place before the polls open on election day. 17 V.S.A. § 2523(a).
The presiding officer shall also ensure that signs informing voters of
procedures for depositing ballots are placed on or near the ballot boxes
before the polls open on election day. 17 V.S.A. §
November 12: At 10:00 a.m. all canvassing committees
(statewide, county, senatorial, and representative) must meet to tally
returns. 17 V.S.A. § 2592(g) and (h). The committee shall prepare
certificates of election and send or deliver these to the candidates
elected, except the statewide committee shall prepare the certificates but
not sign them. Each canvassing committee shall also file a canvassing
report of its findings with the Secretary of State. 17 V.S.A. § 2592 (m).
Last day for a losing candidate to request a recount (within 10 days
after the election). 17 V.S.A. § 2602(b).
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