Secretary of State Mark Martin, who has had his share of troubles since taking office, is reaching out to former Senate candidate and KARN regular Curtis Coleman for some consulting help. According to the Tolbert Report, Coleman will head up a committee of nine aimed at "reviewing the office processes and advising them on how to make improvements." This bit of consulting won't cost $54,500 like Martin's contract with the Soderquist Center. Coleman and the others on the committee will be serving on a volunteer basis.
UPDATE: I'm just now seeing the press release on this from Martin's office. The committee members will be: Tom Bryant of Hot Springs Village, John Scott Bull of Fayetteville, David Crow of Conway, former state representative Dan Greenberg of Little Rock, Jim Harris of Little Rock, Julie Harris of Springdale, Dan Hebert of Fayetteville, Tom Lundstrum of Springdale and former state representative Sid Rosenbaum of Little Rock.
Martin said the committee was being established "to make sure we develop efficient policies and stay true to the conservative values I promised to uphold.”
A couple of sentences later, Martin said, "I’m really not focused on a political profile for this committee." I'm not familiar with all the names on the list, but when you say you're looking for a group to hold you to your conservative values and then say there's no "political profile," that seems strange.
Also, the Democratic Party of Arkansas kicked up a little dust over this earlier today wondering if this committee will be subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act law. Here's the response from Martin's spokesman Alex Reed:
Our office will fully comply with the FOI law. They will not have state email addresses. These are unpaid volunteers that are on their own dime. These are citizens of Arkansas that are volunteering their time to be a part of state government, and making the SOS office more effective and efficient. The committee will not be advising on partisan matters, only on matters to make the office more effective and efficient.
From the Secretary of State's office:
Secretary Martin Announces The Citizens Implementation and Application Committee
Secretary of State Mark Martin today announced the formation of a Review and Implementation Committee to review and help formulate policy for the office.
“I don’t want to get dragged into doing the stereotypical government thing,” Martin said. “We’re establishing this advisory committee to make sure we develop efficient policies and stay true to the conservative values I promised to uphold.”
Chairman of the 10-person committee is Curtis Coleman of Little Rock, president of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and founding CEO of Safe Foods.
The members will evaluate and expand upon policies that have led to a smaller, more efficient staff within the Secretary of State’s office, and will review policies on fiscal management, personnel policies and more.
Martin said the committee members come from a variety of backgrounds. “I’m really not focused on a political profile for this committee; I’m more focused on the goals we have for them.”
Coleman said, “I recommended to Secretary Martin highly qualified people with the experience and background relevant to the duties this committee will have.”
The committee consists of Tom Bryant of Hot Springs Village, John Scott Bull of Fayetteville, David Crow of Conway, former state representative Dan Greenberg of Little Rock, Jim Harris of Little Rock, Julie Harris of Springdale, Dan Hebert of Fayetteville, Tom Lundstrum of Springdale and former state representative Sid Rosenbaum of Little Rock.
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