JENNIFER M. WEST
Address: 205 Redwood Road Age: 51
Political Party: Democrat
Previous terms: n/a
Site security manager/ customer service representative.
Portsmouth High School, Class of 1983; bachelor's degree in management, Rhode Island College, Class of 1987.
Family: Single, have lived in town for 44 years. Parents: William and Joanne West of Portsmouth; Siblings: Christopher, William “Sly”, Michael West, all graduates of Portsmouth High School. Sisterin- law Amy and Nephew Sumner.
Reason for running: Growing up in Portsmouth, I have seen the town change a lot, but our Town Clerk's office has not kept pace. My work experience in technology and in customer service allows me to understand what changes would be beneficial in the Town Clerk's office to help the citizens of Portsmouth. More importantly, my experience has trained me how to implement those improvements.
Most important issues:
Addressing the issues and recommendations in the June 2015 Town Clerk Management and Staffing Study. There are long term and short term recommendations. For example, three recommendations which the study considers essential are to establish a combined Town Clerk/ canvassing department; provide adequate administration support staff, which will help to reduce or even eliminate funding of temporary or contract positions; and to enhance the mission of the Town Clerk's functions.
Top priorities: Create standard operating procedures for the clerk's office - because none currently exist. I would develop these by reviewing the procedures used by other comparable towns and create one that would make sure best practices are clearly set forth and followed. Make better use of technology.
For example, I would livestream Town Council meetings; no longer make hard copy books of property records since they are available online; scan archived documents to put online for public access; and create interactive online forms available to the public so they can be filled out prior to coming to Town Hall. Create a training program for the staff.
I would make sure training incorporates both operations and technology, is ongoing, and allows for learning from other municipal clerks both in state and out of state.