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Thiensville one step away from iPads for officials, some staff

Sept. 5, 2012

Thiensville - The village is the latest municipality planning to harness the latest 21st-century technology and go paperless.

After tossing the prospect around in recent months, the Village Board made a decision Tuesday to begin taking steps toward the green-friendly initiative. Plans call for purchasing iPads for board members and some top-ranking staff members.

The board met as a Committee of the While during Tuesday's deliberations, and a final vote will be taken during the regular meeting later this month.

Saves money, more efficient

Officials have cited a number of merits in purchasing and issuing iPads.

In the long run, a number of board members stated a belief the switch will save money as staff at Village Hall rely less on paper, toner cartridges and related supplies. Also, the change will likely be more efficient - a positive for the small staff.

In addition to printing up a paper packet for each board member, the village generally delivers the materials to board members' homes, either in person or through the mail.

Village Attorney Robert Feind said the iPad scenario also could streamline any open records requests that would be filed. If the iPads are used exclusively for work purposes, Feind said it would eliminate the need to redact personal, nonvillage information.

Village Administrator Dianne Robertson presented the board with a draft version of a resolution on the iPad usage. For employees, the policy would be inserted into the village's handbook.

As proposed, the village would remain the owner of the iPads issued to board members and employees. Each person would be given a choice - use the device solely for village business without charge or use it for business and personal use and pay 50 percent of the cost of the iPad.

Trustee John Treffert said he was in favor of the policy Robertson presented.

"I like it," Treffert said. "It takes away any impression that we're getting something for nothing."

Heinritz questions cost

But there was some skepticism about the changes. Trustee Ronald Heinritz questioned the rationale behind the switch, pointing to the upfront cost of purchasing an electronic device.

"I'll probably be printing off the documents if I get them electronically," Heinritz said.

But Trustee Robert Holyoke said he believed it was a prudent decision.

"We have to get with the times," Holyoke said.

Director of Public Works Andrew LaFond has been looking into the logistics of purchasing the iPads. He provided the board with a brief update on his research to date.

LaFond said the village could create an account with Apple for the devices and be privy to the same cost structure offered to the state. Plans are in motion to place an order for the devices in the near future.

Once the iPads are delivered to Village Hall, Robertson said there will be a period of phasing in the new devices for official village business.

"We'll have training sessions," Robertson said. "I know I'm going to need one."

NEXT STEP

WHAT:The Thiensville Village Board will make a final determination on a policy on purchasing iPads.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Sept. 17

WHERE: Village Hall, 250 Elm St.

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