I want to share my plan for creating a 21st Century City Clerk’s Office in South Bend. In my campaign for City Clerk to date I have visited over 9000 homes in neighborhoods throughout South Bend. As I go door to door I’ve been listening to our citizen’s ideas on how we can make the City Clerk’s Office services better and sharing my plan with them. During my 12 years of service as a City Council member, including 5 years as Council President, I have directly with the City Clerk’s Office in our integrated process and offer the following list of priorities that are critical to creating a 21st Century South Bend City Clerk’s Office:
Greater Office Efficiency Through Innovation and Technology
- Improving Technology by overhauling Clerk’s Office audio/video recording equipment. Utilizing the latest, most efficient technology available to expedite and enhance the recording, documentation and storage of City Clerk’s Office and Common Council meeting records. Funding for new technology must come from within the current budget.
Broader Public Access
- Social Media Outlets Facebook and Twitter offer new communication access points for South Bend citizens. A City Clerk Facebook page and a Twitter account are key to staying connected to our citizens. Since introducing the Council Facebook page citizens can post questions and receive immediate answers. Interns providing live tweets and Facebook real time posts at Council meetings will allow citizens to follow the public process wherever they are.
- Hispanic Community Outreach is critical for the Clerk’s Office. As a Council member, police officer and youth organizer I have made inclusion a top priority. Often due to language barriers Spanish speaking citizens are at a disadvantage in accessing records and meeting information from the City Clerk’s Office. A bi-lingual staff member or volunteer interpreter will help provide equitable access for Hispanic citizens.
Enhanced Accountability and Transparency
- Employee Work Record Standards will be aligned to coincide with the rules and regulations for all South Bend municipal employees.
- Updating Public Records will provide more transparency and easier access to documents through an updated website
- Public Information Requests will be handled with the greatest efficiency possible and links to Indiana statutes governing public access will be posted on the City Clerk’s website.
Timely Record Keeping
- Council Video Recordings will be posted no later than 24 hours after each meeting.
- Council Meeting Minutes posted no later than 72 hours after approval by the Council.
Student Education Outreach
- “How City Government Works” In School Seminars for local high school and middle school students offering insight on city government works.
- City Clerk Intern Program to provide students an opportunity to become directly involved in the Clerk’s Office functions and view Common Council meetings for possible school credit.
- Voter Registration Initiative for eligible high school students. Empowering our youth to become engaged city government by offering them the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
Customer Service Pledge
- “How Can We Help?” Our goal will be to provide the most friendly, knowledgeable, efficient customer service.
Meet the Candidates is a series introducing candidates in their own words. Articles are posted verbatim. South Bend Voice will publish articles for all South Bend office seekers who are on the May 5th primary ballot.