Secretary of state review committee reports | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Secretary of state review committee reports

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

CURTIS COLEMAN: Led secretary of state study.
  • CURTIS COLEMAN: Led secretary of state study.
Remember when Secretary of State Mark Martin put Curtis Coleman, A Tea Party-style Republican and occasional candidate, in charge of a committee to review the office?

It has now reported and the full volume is here. It claims unspecified savings could be realized from its recommendations, which included new hires in some areas of the office and significantly expanded police powers related to elections. Some points noted in a quick perusal:

* HIRE MORE PEOPLE: The committee concluded the elections division is understaffed.

* CONSULTANT CONTRACTS: The committee questioned a $52,000-a-month contract with the Information Network of Arkansas, which provides computer systems for state government and then profits from user fees on a variety of services. The committee suggested the fee was high given the fees the Network is able to generate from users.

* OVERSTAFFING: The committee suggested the education and communications effort could get by with two or three fewer staffers for photography and Capitol tours, but it said the communications effort needs better definition of responsibilities and said a director with policy power should be put in charge, preferably a media veteran. There should also be a deputy director.

* BUILDING AND GROUNDS: Eliminate a parking lot employee by going to gated parking lots. Outsource janitorial services. Outsource more maintenance. Cut jobs by merging the building and grounds department with the mechanical and electrical departments. Close the Capitol gift shop (but perhaps continue on-line sales.)

* STATE CAPITOL POLICE: Worth quoting:

This appears to be a top-­heavy organization in that there does not seem to be any lower ranking officers. Apparently officers are promoted to corporal quickly and we understand that the pay scale may be out of line with comparable law enforcement in city, county and state government. Much of this work appears to be security oriented rather than law enforcement and can be possibly performed with less cost than is currently being incurred.

* BROADENED POWERS FOR ELECTIONS: In both the elections and police sections, the report raises the possibility — based on a need demonstrated by "anecdotal evidence" — of expanding the office's powers to investigate election fraud, including a "rapid response" team led by a lawyer. The secretary of state dashing around the state investigating elections, a power now in the hands of police and prosecutors? Controversial, to put it mildly.

* CAPITOL CAFETERIA AND CAPITOL HILL BUILDING: Both should be more closely studied with full accounting. The cafeteria might be seen as en employee benefit, but the cost should be known. The building the secretary of state oversees for use by some legislators should be reviewed for continued operation as is, outsourcing of management or closure or alternate use.

The report said the recommendations could produce significant cost savings but makes no estimate. It then reaches out to say that there are potential savings throughout state government by elimination of "redundancies." The report closes with a brief recommendation that would occupy, oh, about a decade worth of legislative sessions, plus likely mean changes in the Arkansas Constitution:

To centralize these functions, the process of management would have to be structured to avoid the politics inherent in government. This would require a combined effort of the governor, other constitutional officers, statewide agencies and the legislature working together.

Secretary of State Martin's response: He's still reading and analyzing.

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (19)

Showing 1-19 of 19

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-19 of 19

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Federal judge wants John Goodson to explain class action maneuvering

    A show-cause order filed Monday by federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith indicates class action attorney John Goodson has some explaining to do about the move of a class action complaint against an insurance company from federal to state court with an instant pre-packaged settlement that has been criticized as a windfall for Goodson.
    • Dec 22, 2015
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016
  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation