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GOING GREEN: Buying iPads for City Council, Staff, in Chesterfield

There's a APP for that!

Chesterfield's City Council is going paperless and will use Apple iPads instead, announced the council's Finance and Administration Committee Chair Matt Segal on Monday. The council okayed the proposal unanimously.

An iPad is an electronic, portable tablet that will be uploaded with the content of the same stack of official paper documents that each of eight councilmembers refers to when governing the city. Another eight iPads would be purchased for city department heads.

"It will be a real savings for the city," Segal said, in money and trees—the environment. 

Chief City Administrator Michael Herring supported the move to paperless.

("This) will put on the cutting edge of municipalities," he said, according to committee minutes.

The city will be buying directly from the Apple Store, Segal said, with a 2 percent discount for governmental bodies—16 iPads@$399 each, plus software.

Segal said the initial outlay of $6,800 would be recovered in two years, since the city would save at least $3,000 a year in paper, copying, and time collating, stapling, packaging, etc. 

The city council files would be encrypted for security, according to the city's IT Manager Matthew Haug.

Chesterfield Mayor Bruce Geiger asked about confidential items stored on the iPad. Yet typically, city council documents would be public information under the law, except for legal proceedings and personnel matters. 

When iPads are passed along to new or other officials, Haug said everything would be cleard from the electronic devices.

Councilmember Segal said use of the iPads would be phased in over a month's time, perhaps first using them in the pre-council meeting—the agenda review meeting, before taking them to the dais in council chambers.

Staff would offer training for use of the iPads. If a councilmember has a personal iPad, the city can install an application, or app, on that to accommodate the council documents, staff said.

An iPad user may also take notes on the documents, in the app. Anything could still be printed out, if necessary, staff said, particularly large maps and site plans with small print.

It was not immediately clear whether city insurance and/or the iPad user would be liable if the device was stolen, lost, broken.

Haug said the software for city business on the iPad could be locked down if lost. It was not immediately clear whether the public documents on it were more valuable than the stack of papers now used.

Ken Burns May 08, 2012 at 11:57 PM
This is a great, green initiative. Many councils are still printing hundreds of paper copies - a tree for each meeting.
Jean Whitney May 09, 2012 at 03:21 AM
I do agree with you Ken, yay Green!

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