City Council agenda now available on Marysville website
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:34 AM
MARYSVILLE A new paperless agenda for the City Council is proving not-so-paperless, but now citizens will largely have the same access to city documents as elected officials do.
The Marysville City Council meets four times each month, with two workshops for Council members to bat ideas around, and two official meetings for the general public to take the podium and bat Council members around.
Each meeting requires a packet of printed material that often reaches into the hundreds of pages. The Jan. 23, 2007 packet was 523 pages, and that did not include every item before the Council. In the past packets were printed for all seven Council members, the mayor, and about a dozen cabinet members comprised of department heads and supervisors. Several more were needed for the general public and the press, and all had to be copied and assembled by staffers.
Now Council members have a CD burned for them with the agenda and documents on them, and it goes home for further study. In the next year or when the budget allows Council members will have laptops, but now they still get a printed packet for meetings.
Its a thing thats coming in the future, Mayor Dennis Kendall said. There are a lot of cities that are moving toward that. Its a cost-saving, time-saving situation is what it is.
Jeff Seibert has served on the Council since 2002 and has been the most vocal in pressing for the online agenda for the last few years. Microsoft has a pilot program concerning paperless workflows at that time and Seibert said that looked like a good time to get onboard with online.
The idea was to save money by saving their time by not having to make so many copies and to save paper, Seibert explained, noting that as technology advances, most agenda items were coming to the city on computers to start. It didnt make sense to print, copy, distribute and then archive all those materials. The idea was to save that step and to not copy it, to leave it in the electronic format.
Now when people call him he can refer them to the site at http://ci.Marysville.wa.us/agenda and let them see for themselves. They can do that at midnight, without an appointment.
Usually when people call, a lot of times the people dont have all the information, Seibert noted. Most people arent interested, but if they are they shouldnt have to go down to city hall. They should have access to the same information that we have.
Lillie Lien is the assistant city clerk who in the past spent three or four hours each week copying the packets and assembling them with different cover sheets for each recipient. For each public meeting Lien would make up to six or eight packets for the public and most of the time they were not used.
Its a lot better for the public, because now the public has access to the entire packet, without having to come in and ask for copies, Lien said. The packets were always available to the public but not until the night of the council.