By Anna Lothson
Oak Park Village Board Trustee Peter Barber is typically seen with his iPad at meetings, but not all his colleagues are so tech savvy.
This may soon change as the board recently discussed the concept of getting board members' meeting packets on an electronic document system, eliminating the need for the hefty binders. Barber said he saw the positive impact it had on District 97 when he was school board president.
Barber called the switch "life changing," and said having easier access to reports, being able to make notes and revisions online, and not relying on staff to assemble packets creates a greener option, lessens printing costs and eases the burden on staff, which has to deliver packets when last-minute changes are made. In addition, trustees can access their packets at any time without having to locate the physical documents.
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said a software program, such as BoardDocs Pro, costs about $12,000 a year, but would drastically cut back on printing costs. Trustees were generally supportive of the proposal but asked questions about privacy and using electronic devices during meetings.
Village President Anan Abu-Taleb said he was OK with the village purchasing iPads for them because of the amount of time it takes to do the job. Trustees Adam Salzman and Colette Lueck said they would be hesitant to use their own personal devices since they contain confidential client materials.
Lueck also admitted she liked the old-fashioned paper documents and marking notes with pen instead of a keyboard but said she could adapt. She asked about training options to make sure board members stay on the same page if a new system is implemented.
D97 did not provide devices for board members, Barber said, and he would be comfortable using his personal device for board documents at meetings. Two trustees who are lawyers asked the village attorney about information on computers being subject to the Freedom of Information Act, but were assured that no personal trustee items would be subject to that law.
Trustees agreed to send the matter to the finance committee to discuss options and determine the best budget option to bring back to the full board.
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