Monroe County “Paperless Initiative” Looks to be Green, Save it

Monroe County council members have voted to establish a fund intended to reduce the amount of paper generated by county departments.

Monroe County government offices are going green sometime within the next five to ten years, if they want to. Council president Vic Kelson proposed the council begin what he called a “paperless initiative”.

That means creating a fund which Kelson says would be used to help interested county departments increase the amount of business they do electronically, rather than on paper. Kelson says the money wouldn’t go to equipment first.

“We may want to work with a consultant or we may hire and expert. Or may have a paperless consultation function in our IT staff where there’s someone who is available to help us as we plan these things from beginning to end,” Kelson said.

But there isn’t yet any money in the account. Kelson says the Council’s vote is just the start of the paper-chase to make that happen.

Council member Charles Newmann voted against the fund’s creation, saying he’s worried a switch to paperless procedures would make information more difficult to get for some people.

“Once it’s recognized as official communication then it’s just more convenient for governmental entities to require copies to be issued on CD . And then if some does have that then they can go to the library, which is out of their way. Right now under public disclosure information, it must be a hard copy,” Newman said.

Kelson, however, says being able to see documents on the internet doesn’t generally limit the amount of information a person can get.

“This has happened over and over again in history. But the fact is we don’t use stone tablets and we don’t use papyrus and we don’t use parchment scrolls anymore. But it took a long time,” he said.

Kelson says this plan will take at least another five years to fully phase in.

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