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3 ways to improve government meetings

September 4, 2013

Town, city and county governments have a clear responsibility to the public to provide concise, understandable information to their constituents. In order accomplish this task, enhance public engagement and ensure happy residents, it is critical to have the technology foundation from which to launch these endeavors. In the digital age, mobile devices, the cloud and increased use of video as a communications medium inspire the public to seek out information more quickly. For many smaller councils, this proves troublesome as they seek to embrace the tools they need to meet these demands fast enough.

In order to ensure citizen expectations are met and maintain a high quality of operations, local governments have to invest in some key technologies to improve one area of operations in particular - their council meetings. Meeting management services will affect several initiatives, from transparency and open government to the transition to a paperless meeting system. Ultimately, these efforts can help  save money and put funds to better use for a township, city or county in the United States.

Agenda management
Investing in agenda management software will help councils establish a clear stream of information to the public, announcing meetings and the topics to be discussed at them ahead of schedule and providing more incentive for those interested in attending. This will improve transparency efforts while helping officials be more organized at the same time.

Paperless meetings
By focusing on improving technology, many small government bodies can approach a key effort in reducing their budgets and operating more efficiently - going paperless. This endeavor will eliminate many extraneous expenses while helping facilitate the flow of information from the council room to online open access portals, as well as town, county or city records storage. Additionally, it can improve citizens' ability to follow and even participate in meetings by digitalizing the proceedings immediately, rather than after the fact.

E-voting
Electronic voting software can help any council take the final step toward total paperless operations and expedite voting procedures. This will help them make and publicize decisions more swiftly, while ensuring the accuracy of those votes. This is a process that every government office takes seriously, and taking it digital shows the public how important it is to their representatives.

Ultimately, the decision to embrace technology to improve operations is up to the individual town, county and city councils in the U.S., but state and federal efforts driving open and transparent government decisions and other changes are inspiring more areas to change their focus, making it the right time to consider them on a broad scale.