Dallas Progress Review of City Secretary Plan to Upgrade Office Quality

I have reviewed the plan put forth by Ms. Deborah Watkins, recently appointed Dallas City Secretary.

I have to say that I am very impressed with the plan.

Among the highlights of the plan:

*Making Campaign Finance information more searchable will allow less campaigns donors to hide and bring all contributors to light.

She is also going to upgrade the systems used to verify a candidate’s ability to run for office or serve on a city board or commission.

Such a system would have prevented Leo Chaney and Maxine Thornton Reese from being eligible to run for office in 2005 due to having tax liens on property because the City of Dallas had to mow high weeds and clean property that they owned.

*Another highlight is an improvement of the voter registration verification process. Anyone that has ever applied to a board or commission knows that it can be a tedious process to get approved. We now learn that it was because the Secretary staff had to drive to the county to verify information. Not anymore, under the new plan.

Now, if only the County would have such a plan. Campaign finance records for Dallas County candidates are still not available online (If I’m wrong on this, please reply to this article).

According to Dave Levinthal of the Dallas Morning News, she wants to have video streams of the Council Meetings. Do you realize how much fun Dallas Progress is going to be once we get videos of some of these meetings?!

* Cross-training of City Secretary staff. Another great idea, which will allow employees to be knowledgeable about several different jobs within that office.

And she’s doesn’t just want City money, it appears that she also wants to seek grants (!) to supplement the City’s funding to complete the project.

If Ms. Watkins plan is approved and put into place, the City Secretary’s staff will have the technology and support that they need to support the hard work that they do on a daily basis.

Some things are right with the City of Dallas, and this plan is one of them.

Ms. Watkins is proving to be a person that is not going to sit back and rest because she’s finally “made it” to the top spot. She is moving forward and putting forth a true PLAN to make Dallas a better city.

A copy of the plan (in PDF format) is available here.

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