Secretary of State Mark Martin's Review and Implementation Committee met for the first time late this morning. Committee Chairman Curtis Coleman said the committee had been formed to examine current policies and procedures of the Secretary of State's office and to recommend additional policies as needed. He said the main goal of the committee would be to help the office become smaller, smarter and more efficient; more transparent; more responsive to the people of the state; and be more diligent in protecting everyone's right to vote.
Coleman praised Martin, saying "To submit to and invite criticism takes an uncommon individual and someone who is secure." The now eight-member committee (Dan Greenberg removed himself because his wife recently took a job at the Secretary of State's office) was divided into three subcommittees that will work with the office and their staff to come up with policy recommendations. The three subcommittees, Coleman said, would deal with the three major functions of the office: business administration; public relations and educational services; and business and commercial services and elections. The head of each subcommittee will start meeting with Secretary of State deputies soon. Coleman said each subcommittee would work on their own time. A final report will be compiled, hopefully by the end of the year, and will be made open to the public.
When asked if, in the spirit of efficiency, staff reductions were on the table, Coleman said that was a possibility. The full committee will meet infrequently and Coleman said future meetings would "probably" be open to the media although he left himself some room to have closed meetings. It is likely the committee membership will expand. When asked if new members might include those from the other side of the aisle, Coleman said he wasn't really looking at that type of a profile, but rather at candidates with business experience and people for whom small government was a priority. One reporter asked if there was anyone on the committee who wasn't a Republican. One member, David Crow, raised his hand and said he was an independent. Crow is the chair of the Faulkner County Tea Party.