The Benefits of Meeting Management Software for City Managers

Lena Eisenstein
Local government offices are a haven of bustling activity. That's one of many things that makes them such an exciting and rewarding place to work. The downside is that such a fast-paced environment can be inefficient, costly and ' at times ' chaotic. Those issues don't necessarily lessen the commitment of public duty to local citizens. In fact, most government workers tend to rise above these challenges despite their number one concern ' a heavy workload, according to iCompass, a Diligent brand's, survey. About 58% of city managers told us that their biggest concern was having a heavy workload.

To help them deal with the scope and breadth of their daily duties, city managers said that technology was a high priority on their lists for the next 12 to 18 months.

That's a good goal because lack of organization creates an environment in which the squeaky wheel often gets the grease instead of carefully planning priorities. During periods of heavy activity, staff may make errors and efficiency is bound to get lost. The lack of efficiency usually amounts to increases in cost. As staff members step over one another to tackle the newest urgency, accountability lines become blurred or nonexistent.

Board management software solves these problems and enhances the good offerings that local government provide to their citizens.

Introducing the Transparency Portal: A Citizen's Haven for Up-to-Date Information

To solve the need for increasing citizen engagement, iCompass designed the Transparency Portal. The portal is a page that seamlessly attaches to your government website with the same look and feel. Citizens can enter the portal using any device in any setting in which they have access to the internet.

The portal provides a section where citizens can view upcoming meeting agendas in real time. If they can't make a council meeting in person, they can always pull up the Transparency Portal on their laptop, smartphone or tablet and watch the meetings completely online. This is a valuable service for handicapped people, who may have trouble making it to meetings in person.

The application allows citizens to split their screens, so they can follow the agenda right along with the meeting. The agenda software quickly and easily converts the agenda into the meeting minutes for fast approvals, which creates even greater efficiency.

Videos display in HD and are closed-captioned for optimal clarity. Citizens who can tune in can subscribe to their favorite meetings and get automatic email updates when information is published.

The Transparency Portal also has a section in which citizens can retrieve publicly available documents simply by doing an online search in the portal.

These platforms create transparency in government and enhance the local government's image, which ultimately leads to greater citizen engagement.

Meeting Management Software Drastically Reduces Meeting Preparation and Follow-Up

City managers told iCompass, a Diligent brand, that they felt like their staff spent too much time and money managing meetings. They wanted a way to streamline some of the duties without compromising necessary tasks and processes. City managers also expressed their concerns about the costs of meeting management. About 42% of city managers stated in our survey that their local government budget concerned them enough to keep them awake at night.

In response to their concerns, iCompass, a Diligent brand, developed Meeting Manager software that streamlines processes for the agenda, minutes, voting and public engagement. Meeting Manager Pro is an entirely paperless software program that reduces meeting preparation and follow-up by up to 80%.

City managers have noticed a drastic reduction in costs for printing, distribution and labor. The agenda software streamlines agenda approvals because it allows elected officials and staff to make notes on the agenda using any device and to update it in real time.

Meeting Manager Pro enhances local government meetings because it keeps elected officials better informed, which means they're happier and eager to conduct government business. Meeting Manager Pro turns laborious, boring meetings into faster, more efficient and more productive meetings that everyone can feel good about. The program transforms agendas into meeting minutes automatically. Minutes will be ready for approvals after making just a few minor updates and revisions.

Meeting Manager Pro saves post-audio and -video recordings, all within one easy-to-use system. The action-tracking feature tracks incoming requests and other information from your citizens.

The program allows council members to vote electronically and displays the results in the council chambers in real time.

About one in three city managers responded that they wanted to increase engagement. Having access to video council meetings increases citizen engagement, especially as it pertains to younger citizens.

Board Management Software Brings Local Government and Citizens Together

City managers also told us that they desired to improve the relationships between the council and their staff. iCompass, a Diligent brand's, digital tools bring council members, staff and citizens together with the goal of making their community a nicer, more comfortable place to live, work and play. New technologies create new efficiencies that yield cost-effectiveness. iCompass is happy to help enhance the processes that local governments need so that city managers can make better decisions and focus on their priorities.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.