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New Auburn City Clerk emphasizes tech, access

$35,000 upgrade to online system in the works
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn City Clerk’s office appears well on its way to getting a modern makeover.

In the three months Stephanie Snyder has held the seat, two projects are under way and a third is coming down the pipeline to bolster the office’s public information role and bring its technology up to speed.

“There’s lots of interesting things that are happening every day in many cities and not just across California or the nation but the world, so we’d like to make a little bit of a dent in that,” Snyder said.

She defeated incumbent Joseph Labrie in November 2012 by 77 votes, 2,840 to 2,763, marking the first new Auburn City Clerk in 12 years.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, she pitched an agenda management system that would cost $35,000 or less for the next fiscal year, followed by ongoing maintenance costs of $5,000 or less beginning 2014-15.

The City Council did not vote on the proposed system, but both Mayor Kevin Hanley and Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby voiced their support of it.

“I think it’s a big project, but a worthwhile one,” Hanley said.

Kirby said he’s in favor of anything that brings more visibility to what the council is doing.

The agenda management system would increase accessibility to what is being worked on at city meetings; and it can allow for streaming video and audio tied directly to a corresponding agenda item, Snyder said.

“Simple searches” would allow both city staff and the public to find what they’re looking for faster than the current method of scrolling through a lengthy list of agendas and attachments uploaded to the city’s website.

The information would also be available on mobile devices.

City staff could create agendas and attached items online and electronically route items for approval.

The agenda management system is one of three projects Snyder outlined in her report to the council that her office has focused on prioritizing.

Since taking over, Snyder and Deputy City Clerk Amy Lind have ramped up the office’s public information role, creating a biweekly electronic newsletter, “Auburn’s FastNews,” available on the city’s website or by subscribing to a mailing list.

Another project already on the current budget has been upgrading the physical technology in the City Council Chambers, including the introduction of laptop computers to expedite the production of minutes.

Eventually, the chamber upgrades will allow approved resolutions to be produced immediately after meetings, “dramatically reducing the time before staff can move ahead,” according to Snyder’s report.

Councilman Keith Nesbitt said he would like to see the video camera installed at the front of the chambers functioning so viewers of Auburn Community Television can see staff presentations at council meetings.

The council praised Snyder’s efforts to modernize the city clerk’s office.

“Not to draw too much contrast – the contrast to the former city clerk is amazing. We’re moving forward in a real positive direction and I like what I’ve seen so far,” Councilman Keith Nesbitt said. “I like the fact you’re putting together a plan to improve things.”

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews