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Marathon County Board goes paperless with Ipads


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Marathon County’ Board of Supervisors took their first big step towards conducting their business without paper.

All 38 members of the board were issued Ipad tablets at Tuesday’s meeting. This will allow them to access charts and documents from anywhere without paper.

City-County Information Technology Director Gerard Klein says the board has been studying their paperless options for months, and he believes most board members are ready for the change.  “I think so. Many of them. Probably some of them a little apprehensive, but I think they’re ready for it.”

The county is offering classes to the board members today to help them get familiar with the tablets. The classes are for three different skill levels, from absolute beginners up to people that are familiar with computers.

Klein says the board can download what they need, and they can also get a week’s worth of material with one button.  “I think if they don’t have WiFi at their home or Internet at their home, they can, after noon on Fridays, they can find any WiFi hotspot, hit a ‘sync’ button, and it will pull down all of the agendas, minutes, and packets for the next week’s meetings.”

One of the software features is called GoodReader, which allows the user to make notes right on the document online.  “Let’s say you’re sitting around the night before the meeting, you’re reading through it, and you want to remember to ask the person a question. You can annotate right on it, so you can write with your finger on it and say, ‘don’t forget to ask for the date that this is going to be implemented’ or any kind of comment. You can make circles, highlights, underlines, so they’re really making their notes online as well.”

Marathon County will continue to send paper packets in addition to the electronic downloads for a few months, but will phase out the paper copies. With each board member receiving about a ream of paper in their mailboxes each month, the county expects to save money in the long run by eliminating the printing, paper, and postage expenses.

(Listen to our interview with City-County Information Technology Director Gerard Klein on our website, here.)