Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon has announced the creation of the annual “M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation.”
French, Hanlon’s predecessor, was County Clerk from 1997 until her retirement on April 1, 2015. During French’s 18-year tenure, she oversaw the modernization of the Clerk’s Office, including digitizing county records and the electronic reporting of election results, as well as the expansion of the Office’s services with Monmouth County Connection Office in Neptune Township.
“Claire was an outstanding leader and public servant for more than 30 years, 18 years as clerk. We want to recognize and remember her long time dedication to the County of Monmouth,” Hanlon said. “Importantly, as County Clerk, Claire supervised the Monmouth County Archives and worked to improve the ability to preserve our historic records and make them accessible to the public.”
The award, which will be presented annually at Archives and History Day, will recognize outstanding achievements of an elected official, government employee, public servant or civic organization in supporting historic preservation in Monmouth County through education, development, planning, rehabilitation, advocacy, community leadership or other means.
County Archivist Gary Saretzky recalled that French was responsible for introducing digital imaging to both the County Clerk’s office and the Archives.
“She was always supportive in getting us the equipment we needed to improve image quality and enhance public access to information through scanning documents instead of microfilming,” said Saretzky. “She embraced new technology as a means to improve services to the public and she was a pleasure to work with because of her innate empathy for and interest in others.”
French, Hanlon and County Archivist Gary Saretzky will select this year’s recipient from the many nominations submitted this year for the Jane G. Clayton Award that is also presented at Archives and History Day.