MY VISION AS CLERK
BRINGING REFORM TO OUR CITY FOIA REQUEST PROCESS
The City Clerk is responsible for coordinating, handling, and maintaining all records pertaining to FOIA request. Yet, based on the Management Directive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) published by the city on August 24, 2015, the majority of this responsibility has been delegated to other city departments for handling. This current process, as it stands, presents to be complex, confusing, and not resident friendly. As your city clerk, I will propose the following:
- All FOIA request begin and end with the City Clerk's Office.
- All communication regarding a submitted FOIA request will come from the City Clerk's Office in order to avoid any potential confusion from the requestor speaking to multiple city personnel regarding their request.
- Upon receipt of a FOIA request, the City Clerk's Office will forward the request to the respective city department where the designated department FOIA Officer will process the request (gather information, request extension, or submit a denial, etc.).
- The City Clerk will designate a City FOIA Officer within the City Clerk's Office (restoring this responsibility back to the City Clerk and away from the City Manager) who will be responsible for processing all FOIA request, maintaining communication with requestor, speaking with corporation counsel regarding certain request, providing all gathered information to the requestor, and closing out FOIA request.
- The City Clerk will designate an assistant City FOIA Officer who will assist in handling request and will act as the primary point of contact in the absence of the primary City FOIA Officer.
- The designated City FOIA Officer will oversee all department designated FOIA Officers; who are designated by department heads.
By minimizing, the number of city personnel a requestor has to go through, we give the respective departments FOIA Officer time to gather requested information in a timely manner. This transforms the process into a more commonsense and resident friendly process that gives our residents the one-on-one attention they deserve when dealing with their request.
Where there is lack of direction, there is lack of best practice. As your City Clerk, there will be clear and efficient direction during every step of the office's processes. This ensures best practice is being implemented very step of the way.
BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN RESIDENTS AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Part of maintaining our city’s records and information includes keeping the official records of the City Council, maintaining up-to-date City Codes, providing accurate information to citizens and to the City Administration, administer the Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance & licensing, administering the Firemen’s Pension Fund Records and to meet the statutory requirements of the City of Peoria.
All of these areas and many more are the responsibility of the City Clerk. Due to the lack of access, inability to attend City Council meetings and many other factors, we have seen our residents left in the dark regarding important city changes.
It is the responsibility of the City Clerk to help residents connect with their City Council members so that they remain up-to-date on new changes that may be coming that may impact them. In an effort to make this information more accessible, as City Clerk I am excited to announce the following:
- I am committing to hosting “Updates with the Clerk” twice a month; where I will provide our residents with the most up-to-date information related to any changes being proposed or made during City Council meetings.
- I am committing to hosting an annual informational session that educates our residents on different processes that the City Clerk is responsible for; such as: FOIA requests, how to properly contact your City Councilmember, how to address the Council during meetings, and discussing any new City codes and their meaning.
All meetings will be streamed and saved on the City Clerk’s Facebook page that will be created in order to give residents who cannot physically be at a meeting the same opportunity to gain information right in the palm of their hands. These are two commitments that we have not seen offered from our City Clerk’s Office, but I am committed to bridging the gap between residents and access to information.
CHAMPION & STREAMLINE VOTER REGISTRATION SERVICE IN OUR CITY
One of the most underused and under advertised services of the City Clerk's Office; is residents ability to register to vote right here in our city hall.
Every vote counts in every election! That's why I am dedicated to making the City Clerk’s office the hub for voter registration. In an effort to shine a brighter light on this offered service, I will organize an annual voter registration drive hosted by the City Clerk’s office.
We will combat voter suppression in the City Clerk's Office; and we will offer education to all of our city residents on the process of registering to vote, along with providing information on the different ways a resident can vote.
Your vote is your voice; and as your City Clerk I will make sure everyone has a voice!