After serving as East Hampton’s deputy town clerk for 20 years, it seemed only natural for Carole Brennan to take the next step in running for local office.
As of this month, Ms. Brennan, whose party affiliation is “blank,” is the clerk of East Hampton Town. She replaced her longtime co-worker, former Town Clerk Fred Overton, who is now an East Hampton Town councilman.
“Fred and I were driving to a Town Board meeting in Montauk when I decided to run,” said Ms. Brennan. “It just seemed like the most natural progression.”
Prior to her role as deputy town clerk, Ms. Brennan started as a secretary in the sanitation department in June 1989 and worked briefly in the tax receiver’s office before taking on the deputy role in 1994. That adds up to a grand total of 24 years with East Hampton Town.
“I didn’t come to work for the town with this job in mind,” she said. “I just happened upon it.”
So what keeps her coming back year after year?
“The people,” said Ms. Brennan. “I made it my point to listen and learn and be involved in knowing what every department does. It really allows me to help people—all the ‘thank yous’ and the smiles and everything else has always made it worthwhile.”
Ms. Brennan’s compassion extends beyond the doors of her Pantigo Road office. She also served as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Sag Harbor Fire Department for more than 25 years in addition to being a member of the East Hampton Kiwanis Club for 10 years in the early 2000s.
Ms. Brennan served six of her 10 years at the Kiwanis Club as treasurer, helping the organization digitize and manage its files—one of her biggest goals for East Hampton Town in 2014.
“I’d like to see the town have more on the website,” she said. “[People are able] to watch school board meetings on the computer [and] I’d like to see that happening with planning and zoning meetings. I’d also like for people to be able to get their permits online instead of in the mail. Just little things like that would make it easier for everyone.”
Outside of spearheading digital advancements for the town, Ms. Brennan spends her free time in the company of her husband of 42 years, Joe, and her children and grandchildren.
“My grandchildren are what I really do for fun,” she said. “They’re very special to me so I spend as much time with them as I possibly can.”
Family, said the Sag Harbor native, is part of what makes working in this community so rewarding. Ms. Brennan graduated from Pierson High School, which is also the alma mater of her son and daughter, and where two of her grandchildren are currently enrolled.
“My grandson has had teachers my daughter had in high school,” she said. “It makes for a very close-knit community. Again, it’s the people. There’s been a lot of stressful moments in my 24 years, but I still can say every single day I love my job.”