Superior Court Clerk: Lynn Fazz
Name: Lynn Fazz
Hometown: Alexandria, Va. (moved to Yuma in 1984)
Office running for: Yuma County Clerk of Superior Court
Political experience: I have never held an elected position
Family: Married to Cesar Fazz, I have three children: Bryan Casey (24), Evan Fazz (19) and Alex Fazz (16)
Please describe your platform? I have been serving the citizens of Yuma County in city, county and state positions for over 20 years. Additionally, I have 4 years of administrative/management experience in the private sector. I have been in some sort of supervisory/administrative position for 12 of those years of experience. My background in the administrative area of local law enforcement, working for Yuma Police Department, the Southwest Border Alliance, Customs and the Department of Public Safety, has given me a working perspective on the enforcement side of the court equation. My 5+ years at the clerk's office provided me with valuable insight into the office from the ground up. My supervisory role there allowed me to learn the many functions of the office, in addition to the administrative role that I played. I was a key player in the creation and administration of the MEADS computerized minute entry system (no longer used) for courtroom clerks and when Yuma became the pilot court for the new statewide automation system, I was heavily involved in the planning and implementation of that as well. I have an excellent working knowledge of what is working and not working in the clerk's office and the experience and leadership required to carry the office into the future.
If elected, what is your first priority? My first priority will be a general audit of the workflow, efficiency and accountability of every area of the office. Some areas have been managed in the same way for years and that has proven to be problematic in the past. A perfect example is the exhibit storage and retrieval system. The clerk's office has not kept up with current trends and adequate security in that area and is subsequently in need of a complete review and overhaul. Finally, accessibility of the functions of the office to Yuma County customers, both internal and external needs improvement.
Who do you think is your biggest challenger and why? My opponent is my only challenger in this race. He was brought into the clerk's office after doing paralegal work for the Yuma County Attorney's Office. Prior to working for the clerk's office he had little to no supervisory or management experience and that lack of experience was evident when it came to employee supervision and management.
What do you think sets you apart from your opponent(s)? I have the maturity and the management skills to effectively deal with employees in a fair and open-minded manner. My 20+ years of experience in local government offices has given me the tools to effectively handle any situation. Not only did I start from the bottom and work my way into a supervisory position at the clerk's office, but I took pride in the job I was doing and fostered teamwork and cooperation from my employees, my co-workers and outside agencies. The clerk of the court must be a “we-oriented” person focused on improvement of services without trying to take credit away from the many skilled and deserving staff members who make that office work.
What would you do to achieve more transparency in government, and should government officials be in charge of managing those efforts? Public officials are the stewards of taxpayer monies and assets and as such, they are responsible for keeping things in the open and on the up and up. Having open-door policies and open discussion about issues keep us fiscally responsible and accessible to public scrutiny. Above that, elected officials must be held to a higher standard. Abuse and misuse of government equipment and funds cannot be tolerated and those areas should also be open to scrutiny by the public being served.
Public notices are regarded as one important way for the public to find out what is really happening in government. Newspapers currently not only print public notices but also operate a free, consolidated, online, searchable database. Some people advocate that public notices should be available only on government websites. Do you agree that the Legislature should change the current law to mandate that public notices be available only on government websites? No, I do not agree with such a change in the law. We run the risk of not maintaining that “transparency” and accountability to everyone if notices are limited to government websites only. We would be discriminating against those that did not have the means to access a computer. Although there is a cost involved, there is a responsibility by government officials to use any and every avenue available in an effort to make public notices available to all citizens.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and Arizonans? Certainly the economy has had the greatest impact on us locally as well as statewide. Making changes in the workplace that enable us to do more with less funding, resources and employees is a challenge that will continue to face us in the years to come. Being fiscally responsible is paramount to making the office work in these trying times, but with teamwork and creative problem-solving, those issues can be overcome.
What would you do, if elected, to help change that? My goals will be to make self-help avenues better known to local citizens who may not be able to afford legal representation; to cross train all employees so that no single employee becomes critical to the proper functioning of the office; and to streamline costs in areas where it is possible to do so. Greater use of volunteer staff, exploration of grant monies available and work-study programs are also areas that can be further explored. If elected, strategic planning to develop ways to deal with further stresses on our resources is crucial to ensure that we are proactive and ahead of potential problems, rather than being reactive in times such as these.
What is one of your strength? Weaknesses (something you'd like to improve upon)? My greatest strength is in my ability to bring people together to work for the common good, otherwise known as leadership. This involves communicating with others in a diplomatic and cooperative way. I am very approachable and open to ideas from employees and customers to better serve our citizens. I treat others with fairness and appreciate their differences. My biggest weakness is that I am new to the political game. I have quickly learned that information which should be known about the candidates is not always brought to the forefront.
What is one thing that you want voters to know? I want Yuma County voters to know that I am the only candidate running for this office with the combination of executive level AND “work in the trenches” experience. Appointment to an elected office to serve out the term following the retirement of an elected official simply due to party affiliation is never a good reason to elect someone. I want voters to know that respect and leadership is earned. It isn't something that automatically goes with being handed a title, such as in the temporary appointment of my opponent. Whoever holds the position is expected to sit on committees and serve a variety of functions for the office. Those are a given and go with the territory. Leadership, credibility, professionalism and quality experience are what is needed to excel in this office and I believe that I possess all of these qualities.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? I firmly believe it is time for a change in the Yuma County Clerk's Office. I chose to run for office because of my experience, my leadership qualities and my skills as a supervisor, knowing that I can improve the office. I will make positive and long overdue changes to assist everyone who has need for the services provided by the Office of the Clerk of the Court.