The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NJ's automation saves time, but not for Deputy Clerk

The instructions are ... well... kinda, sorta, clear...

April is a busy month for Plainfield's Deputy Municipal Clerk Sherri Golden. That is when "LGOs" -- elected and appointed officials in the local government and its agencies -- must file their annual Financial Disclosure Statements.

Time was when this meant mailing out paper forms and having recipients fill them out and mail them to Trenton. But no longer.

The state has put the forms online and all required LGOs file their information electronically, making it instantaneously available on the publicly-viewable state website.

Except for one hitch.

Each individual must be assigned a "personalized validation name" (their name) and a confidential PIN number. Sherrie must take the time to craft 91 hand-tailored emails to each Plainfield official required to make the submission, keeping each one's confidential information completely private.

So, saving labor on the Trenton end hasn''t exactly meant saving labor across the board -- just offloading it, which is an old bureaucratic trick.

Meanwhile, the LGOs must download, read and digest a three-page directive from the DCA's Division of Local Government Services and follow the 12-stepss to successfully file their required reports by April 30.

Progress, of sorts.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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