A web-based system that provides more resources to clients without paper

In 2009, the Chatham County–Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) implemented a web-based, comprehensive meeting management system for the fifteen boards we currently support.  This system supports all three phases of the meeting process:  agenda preparation, actual meeting, and post meeting.
Over the year, staff and board members prepared for this transition by holding mock meetings, attending training sessions on software and generally looking deeply into the way we do business.  Less duplication of efforts, a reduction of paper and energy, and more available staff time have only been a few of the benefits experienced.
Our web-based system creates an opportunity to provide more resources to residents, developers and others who need information from our staff reports.  Now, when we post our agendas to the webpage, a comprehensive set of documents is attached to each petition listed.  Readers now have access to the staff report, zoning maps, site plans, letters received from concerned residents and other material.  Previously this was only available by visiting our offices.
The e-agenda product manages the agenda creation, approval and distribution process, as well as manages board meetings from voting to actually generating the minutes.  We have also seen several other benefits:

  • Real-time, on-line access to agenda information
  • Reduced administrative workload
  • Elimination of re-keying of agenda items
  • Streamlined meeting and post-meeting activities and documentation
  • “One Click” publishing of agendas and minutes to intranet and Internet
  • Reduced inquiries for copies of agendas and minutes
  • A completely paperless solution
  • With fewer bound copies of agendas and minutes required, significant cost savings can result.

Most importantly, our e-agenda’s user interface is clean, simple and intuitive.  A role-based system ensures that every user sees only the items and forms that are needed for the function they are performing.
The move to a paperless system exemplifies our commitment to sustainable community planning by reaching deep into the core of services we provide.  We hope in the coming months to collect data and provide assessments on how this shift of system has impacted our waste stream, office supply budgets, and staff-time allocations.  We look forward to updating Partners with these results.