Government Technology

Sacramento City Council Receives Agendas on Kindles and Netbooks


March 23, 2010 By

Distributing meeting agendas to Sacramento City Council members has become less expensive and greener now that members receive agendas electronically on Amazon Kindle e-book readers and netbooks.

Before the switch, the city consumed one ream of paper per day for each council member for all necessary documents, according to Sacramento City Clerk Shirley Concolino. That amount of paper cost $1,500 per year, per council member. In October 2009, Concolino persuaded the Council to mandate that the city work toward becoming 80 percent paperless over the next several years. Concolino said she knew employee satisfaction with the user experience of electronic documents would determine compliance. In January 2010, she purchased a few Kindles and netbooks and offered demonstrations to Council members and their staffers. Enthusiasm for devices grew quickly, she said.

"Even Council Member Robbie Waters, by his own admission, is probably the least tech-savvy council member and had been unwilling to try new things. He became an ambassador for us," Concolino said.

The netbooks are more popular than the Kindles among the members, Concolino reported. She said they found the netbooks easier to navigate because they function more like everyday computers. Using Adobe Acrobat, they can also highlight sections -- similar to a well known feature of the Kindle. However, members who use the Kindle can select words they don't understand and immediately get definitions, a function that's unavailable on the netbooks.

Concolino said the Kindles are also better for users who want to magnify their font sizes. "Obviously you can increase the font on a netbook, but it doesn't line up as well as it does in a Kindle," Concolino said.

Governments that are interested in transitioning their workers to Kindles or netbooks should expect to spend roughly $300 per employee, she said.

Usage of netbooks and Kindles will likely increase in Sacramento government during the next few months. Concolino said other boards and commissions are inquiring about getting their own machines.

The work required for transitioning end-users and IT staff onto the devices is minimal. "We get rave reviews when it comes to our customer service and training," Concolino said.

 


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Comments

B Nehl    |    Commented March 24, 2010

How do they distribute the electronic documents to the Kindle and the netbooks?

B Nehl    |    Commented March 24, 2010

How do they distribute the electronic documents to the Kindle and the netbooks?

B Nehl    |    Commented March 24, 2010

How do they distribute the electronic documents to the Kindle and the netbooks?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2010

Yes, I would like to know the same thing. I am also curious about who is responsible for them? In NYC, Community Boards use a lot of paper and the members are volunteers. How could they download the documents prior to or at the meetings without having to burden the office staff that supports them too much. Would all documents need to be made available online or emailed in a particular format?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2010

Yes, I would like to know the same thing. I am also curious about who is responsible for them? In NYC, Community Boards use a lot of paper and the members are volunteers. How could they download the documents prior to or at the meetings without having to burden the office staff that supports them too much. Would all documents need to be made available online or emailed in a particular format?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2010

Yes, I would like to know the same thing. I am also curious about who is responsible for them? In NYC, Community Boards use a lot of paper and the members are volunteers. How could they download the documents prior to or at the meetings without having to burden the office staff that supports them too much. Would all documents need to be made available online or emailed in a particular format?

popol0909    |    Commented March 27, 2010

What are the support costs of those devices?

- Time that staff takes to support users

- Battery replacement

- Defective devices you have to return to company

- Everything that I do not think of

popol0909    |    Commented March 27, 2010

What are the support costs of those devices?

- Time that staff takes to support users

- Battery replacement

- Defective devices you have to return to company

- Everything that I do not think of

popol0909    |    Commented March 27, 2010

What are the support costs of those devices?

- Time that staff takes to support users

- Battery replacement

- Defective devices you have to return to company

- Everything that I do not think of

Jeremy    |    Commented March 31, 2010

This is an excellent use of technology for local government! I live in Sacramento and applaud Shirley Concolino for promoting this. Yes, there will be costs behind the scenes, but there is also the unexpected costs of repairing a copier, toner for the copier, or even the occasional repair and replacement of the machine that is often overlooked. E-paper is not just a way to reduce expenses, but is also easier to distribute and keep updated. Also, documents are no longer restricted to the 8x11 format -- if a survey or zoning map needs to be included, then the electronic user may zoom in as needed, or out as needed to gain a better perspective. Electronically they can be made more interactive as well, as through a click of a button a crime rate map can be overlayed, or traffic congestion hotspots identified, etc..

Jeremy    |    Commented March 31, 2010

This is an excellent use of technology for local government! I live in Sacramento and applaud Shirley Concolino for promoting this. Yes, there will be costs behind the scenes, but there is also the unexpected costs of repairing a copier, toner for the copier, or even the occasional repair and replacement of the machine that is often overlooked. E-paper is not just a way to reduce expenses, but is also easier to distribute and keep updated. Also, documents are no longer restricted to the 8x11 format -- if a survey or zoning map needs to be included, then the electronic user may zoom in as needed, or out as needed to gain a better perspective. Electronically they can be made more interactive as well, as through a click of a button a crime rate map can be overlayed, or traffic congestion hotspots identified, etc..

Jeremy    |    Commented March 31, 2010

This is an excellent use of technology for local government! I live in Sacramento and applaud Shirley Concolino for promoting this. Yes, there will be costs behind the scenes, but there is also the unexpected costs of repairing a copier, toner for the copier, or even the occasional repair and replacement of the machine that is often overlooked. E-paper is not just a way to reduce expenses, but is also easier to distribute and keep updated. Also, documents are no longer restricted to the 8x11 format -- if a survey or zoning map needs to be included, then the electronic user may zoom in as needed, or out as needed to gain a better perspective. Electronically they can be made more interactive as well, as through a click of a button a crime rate map can be overlayed, or traffic congestion hotspots identified, etc..

Updater    |    Commented April 5, 2011

http://www.govtech.com/technology/Making-a-Paperless-City-Council-040511.html


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