SD Officials Going Paperless
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
November 12, 2012 5:40 PM
Going paperless has seemed to be a growing trend for county officials across South Dakota.
Some County commissioners have said goodbye to paper and hello to the digital world.
According to Mead, Brookings and Minnehaha county officials, they said they swear by the iPad and would never turn back to paper.
Now, county workers have used their success and money saver techniques to urge more counties to follow.
"This is a typical meeting packet that our board would get," said Ellwein.
Stephanie Ellwein, Commission Assistant and Human Resources Director with Brookings County, said the commissioners transitioned to the iPad in January of this year.
"They also had to agree that they wouldn't receive anything else from our office by paper, everything had to be paperless," said Ellwein.
Since the move, she said she’s seen major improvements in efficiency while saving money.
"Each one ranged from 192 to 300-400 pages per document, and they would get these ones every two weeks," said Ellwein.
For a typical packet, the cost ranges around $25.00 to print and mail out to the commissioners, times that by the number of commissioners and the number of meetings they have each year and you're looking at a total cost of more than $3,000.00, just to generate commissioners packets.
"It's just a time saver and a money saver," said Santema.
Deanna Santema, has been a Brookings County Commissioner for 10 years and said she is enjoying and embracing the new technology.
"Think of all the trees were killing because of all the paper and its just so much better and it's all right here," said Santema.
Now that Minnehaha, Mead and Brookings county commissioners have continued to explore the digital world, now Davison County Commissioners in Mitchell are looking to be a part of the trend.
"Connectivity is so vitally important," said Claggett.
John Claggett, a commissioner for the past seven years, says the world is on a lightening fast route and he wants to ride along.
"The technology is there, kids are doing it all the time, we need to move into that," said Claggett.
He said the Davison County Commissioners will be merging with the iPad come January 1st of 20-13.
With counties grasping on to the iPad across the state, Ellwein said she hopes more city officials utilize the ever-growing technology.
"Were saving paper, were saving energy, and being more efficient and productive from a staff perspective as well," said Ellwein.
What Brookings County did to purchase these iPads, is they issued a one-time stipend, which their commissioners are eligible for once every four years.
The stipend was $500, which then, each commissioner had to purchase at least a 32 gigabyte iPad or compatible tablet PC.
Depending what option they chose, they might have had to shuffle out personal money to pay for the difference, which allows the commissioners to take home their iPads and use them for personal use as well.