RP council may try iPads to end ‘paper agendas’
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By Jud Snyder  January 25, 2013 12:00 am

The City of Rohnert Park’s tip-toeing tentatively into a deeper puddle of high-tech wizardry by introducing the concept of paperless agendas to council meetings.

Means of communication would be an iPad. It’s an idea spelled out by Information Specialist David Rowley, who said of a survey of 206 California cities, 112 of them are already on the paperless  agenda bandwagon.

“The cities of Petaluma and Windsor are using the iPad, too,” but he didn’t say they’re  paperless agenda cities.

At Tuesday night’s regular session in a nearly vacant city council chambers, all five members had many questions for Rowley to answer as best he could. He requested a six-month trial period beginning in February.

“The city would buy the iPads for council members, and we figure the city could save $1,764 a year in 29 meetings in one year schedule.

“We don’t know what the results of a six-month trial period will tell us.”

The council debated the issue for 45 minutes, and there was no solid conclusion (no vote was taken), but indications are to let City Manager Gabe Gonzalez go ahead and try it out.

“I’m in favor of the city providing us with iPads and making us guinea pigs,” said Councilman Jake Mackenzie. “I’m not sure about this. I’m a pack rat, and I know we will have needed documents in city hall.”

Councilwoman Gina Belforte said, “We will have printed packets as well as the iPad…that’s my direction.”

Both councilmen Amy Anahotu and Joe Callinan said they’re “open to the iPad idea.” Added Anahotu, “I’ve an iPad. Let’s see how it works.”

Mayor Pam Stafford noted, “Some people are open to this, and some are not.”

Gonzalez said, “I have an iPad, and council members can still download agendas and reports and create printed agendas.”
There are still details to be worked out along with more questions than answers. The implication is Gonzalez and Rowley will be working on a more formal staff reports for a future council meeting.

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