COUNTY OFFICE’S NEW NAME PART OF ONGOING TURNAROUND VOTER SERVICES BECOMES ELECTION BUREAU TO BETTER DEFINE ITS MISSION.

Wilkes-Barre, Times-Leader

By JON FOX

Friday, June 25, 2004     Page: 6A

WILKES-BARRE – A bureau by any other name, well, it might be more efficient.

As part of a continuing drive to rework Luzerne County Voter Services into a leaner, more user-friendly agency, the county Board of Elections voted Wednesday to rechristen the office the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections.

“It’s a total cleanup over here, and this is just one of the minor details,” said acting Director of Elections Leonard Piazza.

Piazza took the helm of the former Voter Services in April after Director Kevin Jordan was fired for “performance-based reasons.”

Since then, Piazza has worked to cuts costs and make information more accessible to voters on the county Web site. “What we’re looking to do there is streamline and make the office more efficient.”

The name change isn’t accompanied by any functional changes, Piazza said. Rather, it serves to more broadly define the role of the office and turn over a new leaf.

“I think that in some ways there was a misconception with Voter Services that we were here only to serve the voters,” he said.

The name didn’t reflect the scope of services offered. “We’re a public information outlet,” he said. “In past years, the public information component of the bureau was not as open as I would have liked.”

The bureau is guided by the county Board of Elections, consisting of the three county commissioners, and encompasses the Voter Registration Commission.

Piazza concedes it still might be slightly confusing, but, in essence, the bureau is the point-of-contact for everything relating to voting and elections in the county, serving voters, candidates, elected officials and the general public.

“This is just like a starting point really. Our average customer won’t notice any significant difference at this time.”

In keeping with his push for cost efficiency, Piazza said there won’t be any expenses associated with the name change. Letterhead is printed out on office printers and can be changed without any additional cost, and everything else that needs a name adjustment “will be phased out over time,” he said.

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