Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock takes a few minutes to talk about his work.
Q: A lot of the business laws and regulations that have brought so many corporations to Delaware look like they may be changing at the federal level in the wake of the recession. What impact might these changes have on Delaware’s economy?
A: Imposing new federal one-size-fits-all mandates on all publicly traded companies could have a chilling effect on economic growth and job creation at a time when we need both. Those federal mandates could also hurt the Delaware economy, both in terms of thousands of jobs that depend on our incorporations business, and state government that directly and indirectly collects $1.2 billion from the 850,000 companies domiciled here. The law of unintended consequences would argue that Congress not take decision-making out of the hands of corporate shareholders and directors by tinkering too much with a system that has worked so well in the past.
Q: Budget cuts have hit certain parts of your agency pretty hard, specifically the state’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs. What plans do you have to ensure public access to the state’s historical artifacts even though some exhibit spaces have been shuttered?
A: Obviously, closing two museums is not something that anybody wanted to do. We will continue to use the contents of both museums in other exhibits. The Department is currently collaborating with the DNREC’s Division of State Parks, the Rehoboth Art League, and local historical societies to increase exhibit space and visibility of some of the state’s most interesting historical and cultural artifacts. To expand public access now, we have also moved the state’s visitor’s center to the Archives building, freeing up more exhibit space to be used, I hope, by the Biggs Museum. We will also better utilize exhibit space within the Archives building, and we are making greater use of other public buildings, places like Legislative Hall.
Q: What is the Department of State doing to make better use of some state buildings and facilities, like the historic Buena Vista estate in New Castle, for example? Is there a way the state can better use these resources to make money?
A: Not long ago, Buena Vista was carefully restored so that it would retain its charm, but would provide visitors with the necessary modern conveniences. Soon we will be ready to unveil a new business plan for Buena Vista; one we think will expand its usage for a wide range of business and social events.
The department has also been working this year to reduce its overall footprint and save taxpayer dollars by doing so. We are co-locating three of our divisions (Archives, Libraries and the Government Information Center) at the Delaware Public Archives building, which will allow us to relinquish our site at the Edgehill Shopping Center entirely.
Q: Gov. Jack Markell has indicated he wants state agencies to look for additional cost savings by consolidating those agencies with similar missions. What divisions of your agency do you think could benefit from consolidation?
A: I can tell you what we have done so far: We have co-located our three “public information” agencies (the Division of Libraries, the Delaware Public Archives, and the Government Information Center) in one building. Since the libraries and GIC staff joined the archives staff, collaboration and efficiency has already increased significantly. Back in March, we consolidated the staffing of the Merit Employee Relations Board and the Public Employment Relations Board under one director. Most recently, we combined the staffs of the Office of the Commission for Women and the Division of Human Relations under a single executive director.
Family: Wife: Susan Frank; Children: Kate, Caroline; Cat: Lucky; Dog: Sunny
Previous employment: Chief of staff to Gov. Tom Carper; New Castle County chief administrative officer
Email Doug Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org.