FREEHOLD, NJ – 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.
“We had a number of nominees with resumes that included of leadership and championing the importance of preserving historic records, artifacts and architecture,” Hanlon said. “The new award will recognize those leaders and bear the name of Claire French, someone who truly led by example.”
The M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation will be presented in conjunction with the Jane G. Clayton Award Archives and History Day on Oct. 3.
Created in 1997, the Jane G. Clayton Award honors individuals who, over a substantial number of years, have made exceptional contributions to the awareness, understanding or preservation of Monmouth County history. The award is named after former County Clerk Jane G. Clayton, who was responsible for the creation of the Monmouth County Archives.
Starting in 2016, nominations will be accepted for French Award. A committee, which will include members of Monmouth County’s historical organizations as well as the County Archives Division, will select the award winner from the nominations.
For additional information, contact the Monmouth County Archives at 732-308-3771 or email [email protected].