At its meeting on September 3, the Town Council approved a measure to transfer $10,000 from the Town Council Reserve to a company that will facilitate the transition to an entirely web-based method of managing the town’s agendas and minutes.
The transfer was approved in the Committee on Appointment Commission and Committees by a vote of 2-1, and was later approved by the full Council by a vote of 6-2.
The company, Granicus, provides web-based solutions to the management of government agendas and minutes for entities that require such documentation at their meetings. Currently, these documents are being handwritten and later typed into word processors and posted online for the public in the form of PDFs.
The web-based model would allow those in charge of recording minutes in meetings of council, boards and commissions to enter them directly into the online platform in real time. Granicus claims that 90% of the minutes will be complete and ready to share by the end of the meeting.
The transition was proposed by Town Manager Austin Faison based on his research of other cities as part of his vision to bring the town into the 21st century.
“It’s a real necessary step. We should not be handwriting minutes and trying to type them up [later],” he told the Transcript. “It’s important that the Town of Winthrop show the rest of the region that we are a professional organization. We’re a few years behind.”
The town will be providing training in operating the user-friendly, intuitive platform, with additional webinars and individual assistance available on a case-by-case basis.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” said Faison.
The Town Manager mentioned that a fear of change can be an obstacle to progress.
“There is a thought process that modernization is going to change the way people do their jobs and I don’t agree with that,” he said. “It allows people to do their jobs better and more effectively.”
Granicus will also be creating a cohesive, integrated branding to the town’s agendas and minutes not just for Council but across all boards and commissions.
“They’re going to modernize and unify the look of them for a higher level of professionalism,” said Faison.