Derek Buckley became Easton's town clerk because he wanted to keep busy during his retirement. But what started as a tentative foray into public service evolved into a full-time dissection and reorganization of Easton's vast annals, which date to 1845.
"When I first came here there was one DOS-based system," he said. "It would take me about three or four hours to process [a simple document]. ... So I wrote some software, and now it does it in about two minutes."
Not only did Buckley cut down on labor time, he also re-bound and preserved centuries-old documents. He developed an entire networking system of software, effectively saving the town an estimated $500,000 during the past eight years. Buckley's software cost the town nothing, and comparable programs would have cost Easton upward of $100,000 annually, he said.
"I'd never written a line of software in my life," he said. "They would never give me the money [to license software]. ... So I made a deal with the town, I said, 'I can own it, and you can use it.'"
As a research physicist before his "retirement," it didn't take long for this England-native to teach himself software-writing skills. "It was just a simple thing when I started, I was just trying to get the daily accounting done," he said. "It sort of grew from there."
The town clerk's operational budget has not increased since Buckley took the reins from longtime town clerk Carl Mlinar in 2002. "He was a human computer," Buckley said of Mlinar.
Assistants Joan Kirk and Deborah Szegedi are crucial team players at the clerk's office, Buckley said. "Without them at the front desk on a daily basis, nothing would get done and the office would not run smoothly," he said.
Buckley also serves as the town sexton and the registrar of vital statistics. He is married to Val Buckley , the Easton Senior Center's director and founder.
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