St. Mary’s County is the fastest growing county in the state of Maryland with a population of over 105,000. Located on a peninsula in Southern Maryland with over 500 miles of shoreline on the Patuxent River, Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. It is governed by a five-member board of Commissioners.
Background on Producing and Distributing Agenda Packets
Before BoardDocs, St. Mary’s County’s board management solution was all paper-based. “We printed 11 copies of the board packet and assembled these for the Commissioners. You can only imagine how long this took,” said Sharon Ferris, Senior Administrative Coordinator, St. Mary’s County, MD. The Commissioners received the packets the Friday before the Tuesday meeting.
Citizens didn’t have access to what was being discussed or any attachments which raised an issue about public transparency.
Approach to Cloud-Based Agenda Solution
BoardDocs is the top choice of municipalities seeking more efficient, effective Commissioner meetings while at the same time saving money and reducing board-related time-of-staff. BoardDocs next-generation, cloud-based services allow organizations to significantly improve the way they create and manage board packets, access information and conduct meetings.
St. Mary’s County implemented BoardDocs Pro in September 2014. BoardDocs Pro is the fastest, easiest and most powerful agenda solution on the market. By leveraging state-of-the-art, cloud-based technology, BoardDocs Pro does things no other solution can match.
BoardDocs onsite training for all departments and clerks using the solution was simple. “The 24x7 support team is fantastic,” stated Ferris. “I don’t call support often but called once because I inadvertently deleted a document. After the call the document miraculously appeared. What a life- and time-saver.”
Improvements in Commissioners’ Meetings
Ferris found that the time required to create Commissioner packets was cut tremendously. She said, “The County not only saved money on paper but also on salaries because we often had to work overtime.”
Holding electronic meetings and preparing minutes in real time was easy and a great time saver for Sharon.
BoardDocs assists the County in better records retention. All documents, meeting minutes and the Commissioners’ work is stored on BoardDocs. “We no longer have to search through file cabinets to find something a citizen has requested. Several file cabinets have been removed from the office since implementation,” mentioned Ferris. This saved both time and space because a request for information is a simple online search.
The County now has greater accountability with the workflow and approval process available in BoardDocs. Commissioners can view the trail of when a document was uploaded, the workflow process and who gave the final approval. This process is followed for each agenda item.
“The County is extremely pleased with the BoardDocs Pro solution. The public likes it because they can see the agenda and available documentation before a meeting,” said Ferris. The BoardDocs link is available on the County’s website and citizens can easily access the information.