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New Website Improves Legislature Transparency

August 5, 2013
by Catherine Wilde
Cortland Standard

A new website the public can link to from the Cortland County Legislature’s home page provides legislators’ voting records and updated meeting minutes within a few days of the meetings, increasing transparency and ease of access.

Legislature Clerk Jeremy Boylan hails the new site for lightening his workload and increasing transparency of county government.

The county has contracted with IQM2 at a monthly cost of $1,000 to provide the service of automating the agenda.

The site not only makes entire agenda packets available for the public to review, but it also provides a live stream feed of the Legislature session so viewers can tune in at their convenience rather than attending the monthly meetings or waiting for Time Warner to air them.

Boylan also praised the speed at which the meeting minutes are uploaded. Previously the minutes would have been generated a day or two before the next month’s committee meeting, but now they will be done prior to that month’s Legislative session, he said. Legislative meeting minutes should be up within a few days.

The service saves Boylan the time-consuming task of copying all resolutions to a Microsoft Word document as was required when he created the agendas in the past. Now IQM2 automates the entire process so all documents and resolutions associated with an agenda are available at the click of a button. He does not have to retype meeting minutes, either.

“It’s saving me a whole lot of time,” Boylan said.

Legislators can also see what is on an agenda ahead of time by clicking on the link.

Legislature Chair Mike Park (R-Homer) said the new website is very convenient, saving him from carrying around over 100 pages containing information for meetings.

“It’s going to save tons of printing expenses and make it more convenient, I can check anywhere my Ipad goes,” Park said.

It also helps officials see at a glance a resolution from a past meeting, he said.

Information Technology Deputy Director Jack Hess said the new website consolidates all resolutions and supporting documentation into “one stop shopping” for legislators.

Legislator Susan Briggs (R-Cortlandville) said she uses the website and thinks it is “terrific.”

Legislator John Troy (D-1st Ward) said the site is user-friendly, will save on paper cost and gives better access to material. He said the site will ensure legislators are more prepared for meetings since they will click on the agenda items beforehand instead of receiving packets at the meetings.

On the Legislature’s home page there is a link to the site under the announcement for upcoming meetings. It can be reached at www.cortlandcountyny.iqm2.com.

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