A veritable mountain range of documents covers most surfaces in Michael Tranchida’s office. He has been staying evenings, even paying a visit on Thanksgiving, to try to whittle down the piles. But once he leaves on at the end of the day on Friday, the task will pass to a new person.
“It’s unfortunate that we have no contact with the two people coming in,” said Tranchida. “In this office, you really need to hit the ground running, because at 8:30 in the morning your first customer is going to come in.”
Tranchida, along with Assistant City Clerk Dawn Quinn, will leave their positions on Friday. Both were asked to step down by Mayor-elect Daryl Finizio, who said on Nov. 18 that he felt the office would
Tranchida, 59, and Quinn, 54, both started their current positions in April 2000 following the retirement of Clark van der Lyke as city clerk. Tranchida began his service in New London’s municipal government in 1985 as a clerk assigned to the . Prior to taking the assistant city clerk’s position, Quinn was for nine years.
The clerk’s office is responsible for maintaining the city’s property records as well as well as issuing a number of licenses. However, they said a large function of the office is a point of first contact for people seeking assistance for everything from services to information on festivals in the city.
“That’s really a huge part of what we do in this office that people don’t recognize,” said Quinn. “You really need to know the city inside and out.”
Both Quinn and Tranchida said they felt the office has functioned well despite a high volume of visitors and an understaffed workforce. Tranchida said the presence of as well as numerous churches in the city ensures that a high number of birth, death, and marriage certificates must be issued.
“We probably have more volume of customers, if you take it across 12 months, than the Tax Collector’s Office,” he said.
Challenges for the newcomers
Finizio has not announced his choices to replace Tranchida and Quinn. Besides the paperwork awaiting the new clerks, Tranchida said a few other challenges will await the incoming employees. The office still has three different map indexes, as it lacks the funds to consolidate them. The vault is also on the verge of filling up with land records, leaving the question of what to do once no more space is available.
Tranchida said that when he and Quinn started, there was a period of overlap in which about five or six employees as well as the outgoing van der Lyke helped them learn about the various processes in the office in the office. He said the incoming clerks won’t have such an overlap, and that only two additional staffers are available to help them adapt in the early days.
Where do we go from here?
Tranchida grew up in New London, and Quinn’s family has vacationed in the area for 70 years; she made the city her permanent home starting in 1975. They said they will miss the daily interactions with customers.
“Every day it’s something different,” said Quinn. “The greatest thing is when you can help somebody when they just don’t know where to turn.”
“The contact with the people I’ll miss,” said Tranchida. “Not just the New Londoners who come in, but the people from around the area.”
Tranchida has been eligible for the city’s retirement benefits for four years. He plans to spend some time traveling and enjoy some time off before looking for part-time work.
“I have some painting to do around the house,” he added.
Quinn said she is too young for retirement and will seek another job.
“I really haven’t had time to think about it,” she said. “I do love what I do, and hopefully I’ll be able to use my experience in another capacity, perhaps another municipality.”