The 38 members of Marathon County's board of supervisors went digital on Tuesday, as each member received a tablet in an effort to go paperless.
The Wisconsin county has been looking into a paperless content management strategy for months now, according to City-County Information Technology Director Gerard Klein in a WSAU story on the conversion. This will allow for more efficient document storage solutions for the county in an effort to save money. According to Yale University, the costs of paper-based business go far beyond that of printer ink and paper reams – they also include "printing services, delivery, mailing, storage, processing, disposing, recycling."
Klein believes most of the board members, though potentially apprehensive, are ready for the change, which will allow them to access documents and charts anywhere, at any time. Additionally, in the event a question must be remembered for the following morning or a particular paragraph stands out enough to be marked, the tablets will include document management systems that will allow board members to scrawl notes on their files at any time.
"I think if they don't have WiFi at their home or Internet at their home," Klein said, "They can, after noon on Fridays, they can find any WiFi hotspot, hit a 'sync' button, and it will pull down all of the agendas, minutes, and packets for the next week's meetings."
Just in case this is beyond the technological literacy of any board members, classes are being offered in order to assist them in warming up to their new tablets. They will be divided into three skill sets in order to tech anyone from digital neophytes to computing veterans.
Marathon County will not be breaking from paper-based business immediately however. For some time, paper packets will be mailed out concurrently with electronic downloads as the county makes its conversion. By eliminating the need for postage, printing and paper, Marathon County expects that the conversion to tablet-based operations will save money in the long run.
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