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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fixing The Clerk's Office

Back on Tuesday The [Lowell] Sun had a top-of-the-fold article, "Clerk's office faces big fix:  Report:  Overhaul could take 'years'".

Is it just me who thinks the idea of an overhaul taking years is nonsense.  I realize the US Air Force is not Lowell, MA, but if some incoming Squadron, Group or Wing Commander said:  "Boss, this is going to take years to clean up," he would be directed to a new job and someone willing to take on the task and clean it up would be brought in, ASAP.

Either the problems are serious and need to be cleaned up now or they are minor and can be fixed over a long period of time, thus not disturbing the normal flow of the office or the people working there.

Which is it?

In the mean time, based on Reporter Lyle Moran's reporting, I agree with shortening public hours to gain some additional time for Clerk's Office employees to keep up with paperwork.  I also agree with bringing on a couple interns, but I suggest holding off on hiring new people to work through the problems until there is a new City Clerk and we have scoped the problem.  I would also like to know how the new personnel would work and when and how they would be terminated, when the Clerk's Office was back up to speed.  The rest of the listed recommendations in the article seem reasonable.  I also like Councilor Rita Mercier's motion for an ad hoc subcommittee for the Clerk's Office.

Building a great bureaucracy is not the way to solve this problem.

I know, I know, if I feel so strongly I should have applied for the job, but I am sure there is someone out there who can fix this without taking years to do it.  I hope the City Council finds that person and selects him or her.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

JoeS said...

The Northern Middlesex Registry of Deeds undertook a major records modernization program several years ago and it has paid off greatly in efficiency for those who use that office on a regular basis. It may have taken "years" to accomplish, due to the combination of limited annual budget and the extensive history of paper records, but it was accomplished. In that case they prioritized the workload by working backwards in time so that recent records were converted first, and old records later.

As for the clerks office, there are likely significant problems (cash handling) that should have immediate solutions, but there are others (paper records) that could be like eating an elephanst, one bite at a time.

I agree with you that just adding personnel without a good recovery plan would be a mistake.