Flaggs wants city to go paperless

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he’s tired of the continuous movement of paper in city government and wants to begin moving toward a paperless administration.

He’s appointed a committee of department heads to examine how the city can cut its reliance on paper forms and how much it can save by reducing the amount of paper used to run city government. He wants its recommendations in January.

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“People ask me all the time why I’m looking down signing papers,” he said. “I don’t know why we sign things so much in this city. We get documents or information routed to us in our offices, we get two signatures, run it down to the first office and then they put it on the agenda and have to get signatures. I don’t understand that.

“How you save money is by becoming more efficient and reduce the cost of government so the taxpayers will get the best quality government at the least cost,” Flaggs said.

Routing paper to him and the aldermen, he said, “probably takes about 30 minutes. The state has recognized (that) an electronic document is official, so why not email it or text it and save time.”

He named to the committee Fire Chief Craig Danczyk, Police Chief Milton Moore, finance and administration director Doug Whittington, purchasing director Ann Grimshel, human services director Fermika Smith, public works director Garnet Van Norman, parks and recreation director Joe Graves, city attorney Nancy Thomas, Municipal Judge Toni Terrett, information technology director Pam Newman, community development director Victor Gray-Lewis, city clerk Walter Osborne and deputy clerk Tasha Jordan, South Ward administrative assistant Sue Roberts and Flaggs’ assistant Sam Andrews.

Andrews and Smith will chair the committee.

Flaggs also said the Board of Mayor and Aldermen will begin using a consent agenda for its meetings that will allow multiple board items, such as donations, board minutes and routine business items to be disposed of at one time.

The idea for the consent agenda, he said, comes after a trip to Oxford, where that city’s board of aldermen use a consent agenda “and it works for them.”

“We shouldn’t have to take all these yeas and nays and who made the motion (on an item),” he said.

“The meeting is only for the record,” he said of the meeting agenda. “You don’t have to do all of the stuff you do in the city. If I need two signatures to go to China and you vote against it, that’s the record. We’re contradicting ourselves.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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