Below was my introduction for Lacey Sloan’s Social Work and Change class.
Hello – my name is Pamala Smith and I work in the Howe Library, which is the main library at UVM. I work in information technology support. I started as a student at UVM in 1989 and ultimately chose Sociology as my undergraduate major – the fact that the main professor that I had in that program was an excellent professor, easily sealed the deal.
I actually took a 4 year hiatus before the last year of my undergraduate degree, so when I came back it felt like a different world because I was then a ‘nontraditional’ student. It wasn’t even possible to feel peer pressure, or peer influence, because I was effectively alone. But this helped my study habits immensely. Now, I was the most serious student and immediately went on to get a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and after that I also filled course requirements for Certificates in both Information Technology and Accounting. I did this because I knew that these two fields are integral for management positions, and that if I got a position in management, I didn’t want to be without the required knowledge that I would need to actually make me strong.
In Public Administration studies, the subject of the Secretary of State comes up quite a bit. And in Vermont this office fills a number of very important roles. The most commonly known one is election oversight, but I would say that during the incumbent, Jim Condos’ tenure, it has been more prominent than it was during that of his predecessor Deb Markowitz. During her tenure, the division of Professional Regulation was more prominent and the integrity of elections wasn’t as much of a question throughout society.
There are other very important divisions and functions in the Office: Business Registration, the storage and publishing of the Administrative Rules of Agencies, the State Archives, and the ‘Safe at Home’ program, which anonymizes addresses for victims of Domestic Abuse.
Even though I have worked in a library for the last 22 years, I haven’t talked about the State Archives, which is a library, at all in my campaign. This is because I actually do have a sincere interest in seeing changes made in both the Elections and Professional Regulations divisions.
In a role call vote, which you would see sometimes in gymnasiums holding town meetings, you know that your vote was recorded – you can see the total of votes unfold. However, and quite unfortunately, some will not vote as they really wish to vote in this system out of fear of retribution. On the other hand, an Australian ballot system takes into consideration a private vote. I am proposing using the private vote aspect of the Australian ballot system but adding back the confirmation aspect of the roll call vote system. And I propose doing this by including another field on the ballots that holds a private number for each voter, with which they can confirm their vote and also see how it relates to whole collection of votes.
The changes I would like to see happen in the Professional Regulation division are almost solely the result of personal experiences I have had with some professional service providers. I posit that if the Professional Regulation division is functioning as it should, a customer should be able to be comfortable enough to patronize a Professional Service provider knowing that the division has their back if need be. And that the Professional Service providers would know that there is always a chance that they might have to deal with the Professional Regulation division versus them knowing that the customer may have little to no recourse.
So I cannot say what the actual changes in this division would be but I imagine that there would be many.
Between when I obtained my Master’s Degree in 2001 and 2016 I took four courses a year in a wide variety of fields (two of which were Information Technology and Accounting). I completed this very long and tough period with studies in both Public Health and Health Care, largely because I wanted to understand more of what happened behind the scenes in these fields. And to be honest, what I feel like I discovered in these courses was exactly what I had imagined was the case, and then more.
I would be coming into a regulatory position as someone whose two biggest qualifications are probably research and writing. With these skills, I will look to discover the truth and to share it. But too, a position that consists of multiple differing fields, might need someone as the leader who has an understanding of a wide variety of subjects, like I do.