TAVARES — The Lake County Office of Information Technology (IT) recently unveiled a new digital process for compiling agendas for meetings of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners that will provide more information to Web users and will streamline the agenda process for staff.
The new automated agenda system is expected to save significant staff time and paper costs. Under the old system, a department would submit a proposed agenda item to the Office of Budget. The paper document would then be physically delivered to the County Attorney and then the County Manager for approvals.
Instead of making copies and walking the proposed agenda item from one office to another, the agenda review process now allows a user to simply click a button at their workstation computer and it moves it into the appropriate workflow queue. Similarly, if it has to go backward in the review process for additional documentation, a click of the button and it goes back to the originator queue.
This system will also benefit Web users that view County Commission agendas online. Instead of only the meeting agenda posted on the County’s Web site, www.lakecountyfl.gov, backup information and supporting documents for each agenda item are also available. Computer operating systems that support the automated agenda are Microsoft Windows 2003, XP, 2000 or NT4 (Windows 98 is supported with limitations). Minimum software requirements needed to view agenda supporting documents include Internet Explorer 6.0 (service pack 1 required) and Microsoft MSXML (service pack 3 required). Third-party toolbars and pop-up blockers are not supported.
“This new system will benefit each County department, especially those that are not located directly in downtown Tavares, such as Environmental Services and Public Works,” said Scott Merklinger, Manager of IT’s Programming and Application Support Services Section. “This definitely will reduce staff time spent on preparing the agenda.”
The new automated agenda system cost approximately $109,000 and took nine months to implement. On average, each employee spent one to two hours in training learning the new system. In addition, IT developed a helpful instruction manual to guide users and offers refresher courses to system users each Tuesday.
“This is only a small portion of IT’s initiative to integrate data and documents in a method that provides both security and access in a standardized format,” Merklinger said.