As you’re driving to work, you mentally remind yourself of all the tasks that you didn’t get finished the day before. New applications for board commission vacancies came in, but you haven’t had the time to review them. You’re pretty sure a vacancy is coming up on one of the commissions. While you’re at it, you remember that you need to check the other boards and commissions for expiring terms as well. Thinking of the mound of paper these tasks will create, you decide that the first thing you need to do is to take some time to clear the clutter off your desk and get organized.
Then, as soon as you get to your desk, a concerned citizen calls and wants to know how the board members of the Planning and Zoning Commission voted on a certain matter. You can’t find the folder because you haven’t had time to clean up your desk as you’d planned. You feel like you’re juggling too many balls in the air with no time to recover. Thankfully, every day isn’t that way, but you often find yourself thinking, “There has to be a better way!”
Breaking Down the Issues of Managing Boards, Commissions and Committees
In reality, the process for appointing new members to boards, commissions and committee members isn’t difficult. What’s difficult is that there are so many boards and commissions. Each of them has a different number of required members, and each group and each member have a term that expires at a different time during the year. There are piles of paper applications to sort through. Spreadsheets help, but those are getting lost in the shuffle, too.
As if all that weren’t enough, the calls from the public asking about board and commission members and how they voted never seem to end.
Term expirations bring more frustration. While you enjoy participating in honoring those who are leaving their positions, it can be time-consuming to look through their files to get a record of their dates of service.
Electronic Solutions for Managing Boards and Commissions
Board Manager is a platform that creates a user-friendly online application for individuals who are interested in serving on boards and commissions. The platform provides a basic template that government staff can customize according to their needs.
Board Manager integrates seamlessly with Meeting Manager. This is a major benefit because the software automatically updates the rosters of board and commission members. The updated member list then prepopulates the names to the online agenda and transfers them to the meeting minutes.
Staff can set up the program to track the status of the applications and sort them into the following categories:
- Successful applications
- Pending applications
- Unsuccessful applications
Staff can easily set up automatic notifications to receive flags about upcoming term expirations. They can also set up email templates to respond to applicants automatically. Automatic alerts take the pain out of keeping track of board vacancies, giving staff adequate time to fill the seats proactively.
Board Manager features a user-friendly dashboard where staff can find lists of all members of boards and commissions. Filters make it easy to retrieve the exact information staff needs in seconds.
The program easily transfers names to the current list of members when applications move from “pending” to “approved” with just a few clicks.
Using the Dashboard to Organize Data and Information
The dashboard lets government staff drive the data they need to manage board terms. Helpful tabs give them data for all boards and commissions. The program gives them the ability to generate reports and board rosters for staff, boards and commissions, and the public. Users can delete contact information, if needed, to protect privacy.
Using the platform, staff can pull up the data for all boards and commissions or just one group. Here they can see information about each member and set reminders about term expirations for every member. Staff can also write templated emails and set them up to respond automatically to board and commission members, so they can easily stay current with correspondence.
When staff gets word that a board or commission member is retiring or leaving their service, filters allow staff to calculate their start and leave dates, so that staff can honor them for their service.
Transparency Means Easy Access for the Public and Good Governance
Public citizens call in asking for various pieces of information about the dates, times and locations of board and commission meetings. They may be inquiring about who serves on certain boards or commissions and want to know more about who they are and how they vote on issues.
Board Manager integrates with the online transparency portal, which provides a public platform for communicating with the public about appointed members who serve their community.
The online transparency portal matches the look and feel of the municipality’s website. A helpful sidebar lists the dates, times and locations of upcoming meetings.
The site is nicely organized and user-friendly. Each board and commission has a separate section that tells the public who serves on that group. Interested individuals can click on each board or commission member’s name to see information such as a short biography, term of service and voting record.
They can also click on the “apply” button and the program will redirect them to an online application process.
Now, imagine that same drive to work where you were overwrought with worry about the many tasks you’d be facing once you arrived at your desk. Since most of the data you need is now online, you can appreciate not having to carve out time in the day to keep your desk clean and organized.
It’s a relief to know that you can save time with Board Manager, where you can now easily go online to pull up all upcoming board and commission vacancies or get the vacancies for individual groups.
When that concerned citizen calls wanting to know how the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission voted, you no longer need to sift through files to find the meeting minutes that document the vote. Now, you can simply refer them to your website, where they can pull up the information themselves. Citizens who learn where to find information about their municipalities will spend less time calling in to government offices for information.
Board Manager by iCompass helps local governments save time while improving public access to information. The time that it saves makes juggling the required duties of managing boards and commissions as easy as having just one ball in the air.