‘It was phenomenal’: West Hartford assistant town clerk leaves post

West Hartford assistant town clerk Cindy Porrini.

WEST HARTFORD — Though assistant town clerk Cindy Porrini doesn’t live in West Hartford, she’d often come to check out the area’s dining options and shop with her family even before she worked here.

“So, then when the [job] opening happened six years ago and I was able to apply, and I was kinda, ‘Maybe if I get it, if I get it, OK,’” she said. “And when I was hired, it was phenomenal.”

Now, after years of serving as West Hartford’s assistant town clerk, Cindy Porrini is moving onto a new role as town clerk of Plainville.

There’s a variety of things she’s said she’s looking forward to with her new position: Working with new people, studying a different charter, having a shorter commute, among others.

She’ll also get to see another kind of leadership structure in place. Instead of having a mayor and a town manager like in West Hartford, or just a mayor like in Bristol — where she previously worked for more than 14 years — there’s only a town manager in Plainville, she said.

“Every form of government that I’ve gone to is a little different, it’s varied a little, so that’s exciting,” she said.

Porrini lauded the people she’s gotten to work with while she’s been with the town, from the town clerk and deputy town clerk to the mayor and town manager.

“Working for West Hartford is second to none,” she said.

Porrini is leaving position during a unique time. The pandemic posed “one of our biggest challenges this year,” she said. The town clerk’s office can’t go fully remote, she noted — there’s still parts of the job, like providing death certificates and marriage licenses, that need her attention in person.

“We do as much as we can electronically, you know, and then we do actually have to give an oath in person,” she said of issuing marriage licenses. “So, we meet them in the parking lot, do the distancing, masks, gloves, as much as we can, and we’re still issuing marriage licenses.”

Their office “really is the heart of a lot of transactions,” town clerk Essie Labrot said, with 2,000 to 3,000 of those occurring each month and about as many phone calls happening. Their call volume got even higher in October with the election, with about 6,000 calls on top of handling absentee ballots, she said.

When working with Porrini and deputy town clerk Madonna King, though, “it’s almost like with us, if one forgets something, the other one remembers it, which is great,” Labrot said with a laugh.

“There’s just so many varied transactions that go on in our office and I may not have experienced it, but Madonna did, or Cindy did, so, and then vice versa,” she said. “So we all have multiple years of experience, and it’s been very helpful to feed off of each other a better idea of doing things, too.”

Labrot also said she’s “really appreciated Cindy’s organizational skills and her customer service.”

“I know they’ll be a lot of our regulars that come through the office or — right now it’s through mail and electronically — but I know they will miss her genuineness and her eagerness to help whoever comes through the door, or on the phone,” she said. “And I really value that skill.”

Porrini’s last day working for West Hartford is expected to be Friday. To find someone to fill the spot, Labrot will collaborate with human resources to sort out position details in to prepare for a job post, which she expects to be up “hopefully within the next couple of weeks.”

Even with Porrini moving on, they’ll still be in touch, Labrot said — there’s an association for town clerks, through which they meet up and usually have conferences each year.

“When you are unique in your town, you rely on other members of your association when something new comes up, or you need an idea, or you want to see how another town does it, that you can learn from that,” she said. “So, we’re always exchanging ideas with other towns, and I’m looking forward to doing that with Cindy.”

Connecticut Media Group