Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap presented Portland City Clerk Kathy Jones with the prestigious Lorraine M. Fleury Award at the beginning of the second day of the Maine State Elections Administration Conference at the Sunday River complex in Newry on September 22.
Each year, the Secretary of State solicits nominations for the award, named for long-time state Director of Elections Lorraine M. Fleury. The department presents the award to recognize and honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the election process and who exemplifies the qualities of fairness, experience, knowledge and service.
“The integrity and efficiency of the election process depends almost entirely on the devoted service of municipal elections officials,” said Dunlap. “It’s always a challenge to single any one of them out, but the acknowledgement and praise from co-workers, neighbors, colleagues, and the elected officials who also serve our communities makes this an incredibly gratifying process.”
Jones serves as the city clerk for Maine’s largest city. This in itself presents unique challenges, but her nominations described the energy and devotion that she has shown in constantly implementing better ways to serve the public, and looking for new ideas through her wide and varied service on a number of Clerk’s Associations and on the Elections Working Group. In April of 2015, Jones attended the United States Elections Assistance Commission meeting, joining Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn in representing the State of Maine.
One of Kathy’s many accomplishments as city clerk is her commitment to researching, learning and successfully facilitating Portland’s first-ever Ranked Choice Voting system for the mayoral election in 2011. She has expertly implemented plans for redistricting, polling place relocation, local citizen initiatives, and assisting candidates, as well as directing and training a workforce of more than 200 election workers and office staff. During election seasons, her application of split shifts with office staff, facilitating improvements for processing absentee ballots, and the creation and implementation of a detailed training manual for elections has maximized the success and minimized the stress of the process.
Jones has fluently conducted Portland’s election processes while also performing all of the other duties assigned to a city clerk, and has done so “with ultimate professionalism while always being able to keep her great sense of humor,” according to one of her nominators.
“Kathy Jones runs Maine’s largest and busiest city clerk’s office, and does it extremely well,” said Dunlap as he presented the award. “It’s a testament to her devotion to the democratic process that Portland’s elections run so smoothly. That doesn’t happen by accident. Without the commitment of town and city clerks like Kathy Jones, we’d be in a very tough spot, for sure.”