Cleveland looks to go paperless
by Courtney Warren
Feb 07, 2014 | 6520 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Board of Aldermen recently approved the request to go paperless by City Administrator Farae Wolfe.

The Cleveland School District also recently went paperless and Wolfe hopes to get some tips from the district.

"We do actually use quite a bit of paper because every alderman, in addition to the city attorney, mayor, city clerk, and myself, have to have a copy of all of the board documents. Depending on what the agenda entails, it could be quite a bit of information. It's just endless amounts of paper. It's really difficult to streamline paperwork in that volume, especially as we move through the agenda in the amount of time we have," said Wolfe.

Wolfe had originally created binders for each board member that divided each department.

"It's makes it a little easier but still doesn't solve the massive amounts of paper we use."

Wolfe said she plans to use previous ideas and experiences to implement a program that would allow the aldermen and other members of the board to check the documents from any device after logging in.

"I worked on a project recently with a school district where we transitioned the board from paper to paperless. A small expense occurred but the payoff is greater.

It would involve a remote host. It would alleviate storing large amounts of material on your hard drive. It's web based.

"If we had an alderman that’s on the road or out of town they can simply log in and access it. Some of the software I looked at even had messaging components.

“I think it would be beneficial to the city's bottom line because it would make it so much easier for the board members. You have a repository you can refer to and go back and see a motion taken place in previous meetings," said Wolfe.

Wolfe added she has gotten some positive feedback and thinks going paperless will benefit the city.

"I'm excited about it and the feedback I got back from the aldermen and the mayor. They all seemed very excited about the process. I think it would be great for the city and just another indicator of how the city of Cleveland is very progressive and moving forward and getting better at what we do," she said.

Wolfe said she is seeking the advice of the Cleveland School District, which also recently went paperless.

"We are speaking to them to see what platform they use to see if it's consistent with something the city would need," she said.

Wolfe said many of the aldermen already have a some sort of tablet or laptop they could use during the meetings.

"At the very minimum they would need a tablet. Some of them may prefer to have the wireless keyboard. The cool thing about that is a lot of our aldermen have these devices personally. If they so choose that wouldn’t be an additional expenditure," she said.

The aldermen would also be trained on the devices as we as how to work the program before using it in an actual meeting.

"There will definitely be training and we won't go live with it until everyone is trained and comfortable with how to go around it," said Wolfe.

By eliminating the cost of using so much paper, funds could open up for other expenditures in the city.