Who Are You? with Claire Vanessa Goodwin, Town of Lexington, MA

As part of the grueling ELGL initiation process, new members are asked to complete our version of the Wonderlic test. It’s an open book test and participants do not have to use a dull number 2 pencil to fill in tiny circles.


Claire Vanessa Goodwin (LinkedIn) is a Management Fellow for the Town of Lexington, MA. She’s a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management.

Complete the following sentences.

In the last 60 days, my best accomplishment was…

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Working with Lexington’s Chief of Police and Economic Development Director to establish a project plan to evaluate a new parking policy in downtown which I will spearhead and provide findings to the Board of Selectmen and the Town’s Parking Management citizen committee.

I joined ELGL because…..

I wanted to be connected with a professional group in the field of local government that shared similar values and goals as myself.  It is an important group outside of ICMA to appeal to incoming municipal leaders.  After finishing the ICMA Fellowship, my fiancé and I intend to relocate to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to family so being connected with others in the area is a great opportunity.

One thing I remember from elementary is…

How much fun I had!  The time on the playground with friends was invaluable.  It’s not surprising then that I am a strong believer in lunch breaks away from the desk.

On my way to work, I am thinking

I am thinking about what my next career move will be or how I will be my best self that day.

You should probably know that I….

Spent much of my 20’s living abroad in China, Nepal, and Macedonia.  I am drawn to other cultures and learning about the countless perspectives which exist in the world.  The attraction to local government stems from a desire to be part of a community in my home country and to serve residents of that place.

Do you agree/disagree with the following statement(s)……Explain….

The public should not have to pay for public record requests. 

I disagree and agree.  I am a strong advocate of open data and transparency.  Eventually I would like to see a movement towards digitizing records and providing them online and for free.  The cost which is charged for these requests usually is levied to cover the cost of paper and sometimes staff time.  In Massachusetts, many of these requests are made by journalists and can be overly burdensome to municipal employees, especially when the request totals tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of paper.  As the system is established now, being realistic about resources available to meet the demand of requests is priority. Keeping the fee until a more efficient way is in place will have to suffice.

A Guns N’ Roses reunion tour is a good idea. 

Sure, why not?

I have a landline telephone. 

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What is this, 2005?  Technically, I have one at work. Does that count?

My neighbor understands services provided by local government. 

Agree.  Massachusetts folk are some of the most civically minded and engaged citizens I have encountered.  This is the home of Town Meeting where the budget and all capital projects, large and small, must be approved by a majority of Town Meeting members.

Formal coaching/mentoring programs are worthwhile. 

For me, yes.  I enjoy learning from others’ mistakes and successes.  The encouragement doesn’t hurt, either.