When Elizabeth Dreaper began working as Village Clerk for Village of Dobbs Ferry, NY in 2003, one of her first major tasks was to conquer the monster lurking deep in the recesses of one of the Village’s historic buildings: stacks of musty old leather-bound books containing village ‘Meeting Minutes’ dating back nearly 150 years.
The Solution: eCode360 & PubDocs
Preserving these historic documents was important to the Village, and with the help of a grant to the municipality, Dreaper was able to have thousands of pages scanned. “Once the (digitizing) process started, I realized I needed to get all these minutes posted. So we loaded them all onto our eCode360 site in PubDocs™. Now people can go on our site and look at the minutes from 1873—and these are all handwritten records. That’s pretty amazing,” says Dreaper.
Her success with digitizing and posting the Village’s historical minutes made Dreaper realize that there were other great options for using PubDocs that could really help present day constituents, including posting agendas and resolutions. “People will sometimes ask, ‘at what meeting did the mayor say this or that… or where can I find such and such resolution?’ I can now just say ‘go to the PubDocs section of (our eCode site) and do a search and you’re going to find it.’ It’s super helpful” says Dreaper.
The ability to post backup documents with meeting agendas is another great feature of PubDocs that Dreaper loves. “With PubDocs, I can scan the (meeting) agenda with tons of pages of backup documents and just post it there (on our eCode). If somebody just wants to look at the agenda, they can, or they can go to public documents and see every backup doc that’s attached to that agenda. So that’s major, too,” says Dreaper.
The Result: Time Savings and Better Support for Municipal Staff
Dreaper admits that posting documents to eCode360 has also helped her regain some of the hours she would normally devote to helping constituents with Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests. “The number of FOIL requests we get is off the charts. While I still do a lot of them, it’s really nice that I’m now able to tell people that whatever they are looking for is at their fingertips (on eCode360). And they don’t have to pay for it! That’s huge,” says Dreaper.
Dreaper recalls that her ability to make full use of the many tools on eCode360 has also helped her to better serve her staff. The use of the Multicode tool is one great example.
“Sometimes the mayor, board or one of my department heads will ask, ‘can you find for us this particular law and every village in our state that has something like it?’,” says Dreaper. With a fast turnaround expected to provide the information, the Multicode tool became her secret weapon for getting the job done and providing a multitude of information within a matter of minutes.
Spreading the Word
Singing the praises of eCode360 and time-saving tools like PubDocs and Multicode is something Dreaper admits she does on a regular basis. “Many of my clerk friends are not aware of eCode360 and those who are don’t really know what it can do. I always make a point to tell them about eCode and all the tools that can make their lives easier,” says Dreaper.