April 4, 2002
By Eric Gross

SOUTHEAST - Christine Woolley enjoys helping people and as Deputy County Clerk in charge of the Putnam Department of Motor Vehicles office in Southeast, the Kent resident has assumed a job made to order.

When County Clerk Dennis Sant received his formal appointment from Gov. George Pataki last month he named Mrs. Woolley as his deputy at the DMV office who replaced long-time Deputy Clerk Roseanne Kelly. Like her boss, former County Clerk Joseph Peloso, Mrs. Kelly has also retired after serving the public for many years.

Mrs. Woolley began her career with the Department of Motor Vehicles a decade ago. She started as a counter clerk and worked her way through the ranks.

The Putnam County Department of Motor Vehicles office has the reputation as one of the finest in New York State. People come from near and far to the office off Route 312 and I-84 to handle all of their motor vehicle needs be it a license renewal, a new license plate or change in registration.

Mrs. Woolley attributed the successes of her department to the staff employed at the Putnam DMV. "We give people the best service possible. My staff and I will continue to go out of our way to assist John Q. Public with his motor vehicle needs," she said.

In addition, Mrs. Woolley said employees at the Putnam DMV were genuinely caring people. "We try to treat every customer who walks in the door like family," she said.

While Mrs. Woolley prides her staff at the Department of Motor Vehicles office, she can't understand why another hat worn until Monday wasn't as pleasant.

Kent Councilwoman Christine Woolley officially stepped down from the Kent Town Board this week because of what she said were "increased demands" from her new deputy clerk assignment.

Mrs. Woolley shook her head when reflecting on the current state-of-affairs on the governmental level in Kent.

"A town board must work together as a team. Animosity and playing for the camera only fuels the fire. Instead of getting things done, personal vendettas and vicious verbal attacks have been the result," she said.

The Kent Town Board came under fire recently for passing a resolution barring the public from discussing agenda items until the end of meetings after votes were taken.

Kent meetings have often been punctuated with shouting matches and interruptions as members of the public and council members as well as the supervisor try to talk over each other.

Mrs. Woolley said, "when people from the audience interrupt the discussion, town business moves at a snail's pace."

Mrs. Woolley was joined by Councilman Lou Tartaro and Supervisor Annmarie Baisley in voting for the resolution while council members Kathy Doherty and Joe D'Ambrosio voted against the proposal that shifted public comment to the end of the meeting.

Lake Carmel resident Harry Bourletos is opposed to the new ruling. "Board members chastising and interrupting speakers is not the American way. When did Kent succeed from the union?"

Mrs. Woolley said every town board in Putnam County allows people to speak at the end of a meeting as well as at workshop sessions. "Why should Kent be different?"

Mrs. Woolley attributed the chaos at meetings to "those who want to speak when they want to speak. All we hear is that residents of Kent have rights. What about the rights of the elected officials?"

Mrs. Woolley still believes that everyone can work together in Kent. "Serving one's community as a governmental leader is a privilege. It shouldn't become a power trip. The board must work for the betterment of the town not for town board member's individual benefits."

Does Mrs. Woolley have any suggestions for her successor?

"I would like someone to be appointed who cares about the town, the families and the children of greater Kent," she said.

Putnam Elections Commissioner Robert Bennett said whomever is selected by the current board to fill the vacancy will have to seek election in November.



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