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Ledyard CT, Paperless Meetings

January 23, 2012
Original Publication by Julianne Hanckel
The Day

John Rodolico's schedule is anything but empty.

Almost two months into his new position as mayor, he relies heavily on an online calendar to alert him to upcoming meetings or appointments - a tool he is using for the first time.

He's so busy lately that he admits sometimes he doesn't know what the next day holds until he looks at his calendar, as his assistant, Mark Bancroft, is constantly updating it.

Exploring unknown technologies, making the transition to a town hall that is as paperless as possible, communicating with employees and encouraging communication between themselves has been the main focus of Rodolico's first month and a half in office.

He's even getting the hang of learning how to type on his new smartphone even though he claims he isn't fond of text messaging - a necessary evil, he says.

At 9:30 every Thursday morning town hall staff gather in his office for a briefing that includes important updates from Rodolico's week and recent Town Council actions.

"I've been spending my time getting to know the staff and establishing open lines of communication with them and at the same time, I've been encouraging the staff to communicate with each other. It's a great opportunity not just for me to report the things that I've been working on, but it's also given the staff the opportunity to share with each other the things they're doing in their departments," Rodolico said Wednesday.

"It's quite clear in most cases that under the last administration most of the communication had been between themselves individually with the mayor and not necessarily communicating as a group."

He said every person who works in town hall has a connection to each other and a responsibility to become familiar with how to perform jobs in other departments.

"The ideal employee working in this building would know how to do the job in every other department. I know that's really asking for a dream employee ... It is a big goal that will take training and flexibility on the part of the employees, but it's a model we see in the private sector," he said. "In the private sector, in order to survive people have to be able to multi-task and individuals have to be capable of providing a variety of functions."

Drawing upon his nearly 40-year experience at Electric Boat, Rodolico has said innovation is the key to survival.

That's why he's looking to technology.

"Technology is absolutely going to become the key to being able to provide the services we need to provide," he said.

The town council has become heavily reliant on a new system called IQM2, which allows residents to access online every piece of paper that comes into the town council office. Residents can also watch livestream video of the council meetings when they meet every other Wednesday. Video of the meetings is also archived for easy access.

"The running joke around here is me and my lack of IT skills and my neediness," he said through a chuckle. "I'm getting used to a new computer system, a new smartphone, integrating between the two and using an online calendar ... I'm used to working with a desktop flip calendar. I was the only person left in the world who had one of those and I can't do that anymore. I'm really working a job for the first time that's 24/7."

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