Pennsylvania City Council Equips Staff With Tablets

Duncannon Borough City Council is equipping its staff with tablets to streamline operations, save money, and decrease paper usage. The move will also help coordinate email correspondence and improve recordkeeping.

by Jim T. Ryan, The Patriot-News / January 6, 2020
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(TNS) — The Duncannon Borough, Pa., Council plans to buy tablet computers for staff, council and the mayor to streamline operations and save paper and money. Council also has made paid time off (PTO) benefits permanent for part-time employees.

Council approved spending up to $7,500 for the tablets, one each for seven council members, one for the mayor and one for staff. The goal is to coordinate email, correspondence and records among council and staff to reduce confusion, Councilman Jeffrey Kirkhoff said.

“It moves us forward, but it’s not an expense we can’t afford,” he said.

Borough secretary Kathy Bauer and solicitor Bill Dissinger said the tablets would also help officials store and track communications and documents and preserve borough records as required under state law for right-to-know requests.

“I’m thinking this will get rid of all this paper, too,” Councilman Mike Wolfersberger said.

Rifling through a stack of paper documents, agendas and emails on the table, Kirkhoff said that’s true. He didn’t expect to spend the full $7,500 on the computers, and noted the borough likely would save significant money on printing and paper.

The borough spends an average of $2,000 annually for office supplies and postage.

Council approved the purchases on a 5-1 vote. Roger Williams dissented. “I feel $7,200 can be better spent elsewhere in the borough,” he said, noting Kirkhoff’s initial estimate on the computer costs.

The computers will remain borough property if staff, council members, or the mayor leave their positions.

Council also approved a motion to make permanent the PTO benefits it gave part-time staff in a temporary policy in July. Duncannon has several part-time employees who have been with the borough for a long time. Council members said they wanted to make the policy permanent to help retain quality part-time employees who have institutional knowledge of borough systems and operations.

“We have a very dedicated group of part-time people,” Councilman Michael May said.

The PTO benefits are prorated for the average hours per week each part-time employee works. In July, council gave three days of PTO to part-time employees who had been with the borough for more than three years, as well as paid holidays.

The measure passed with one abstention. Williams abstained because he’s a part-time employee with the borough.

Council also gave final approval to the 2020 budget, which holds real estate taxes level at 3.42 mills, or $342 on a property assessed at $100,000. The budget does require a water rate increase to $42.50 per month because of the large number of water projects.

The first round of banners honoring Duncannon’s veterans have arrived and will be installed on light poles around the borough. Council has been working with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts to get the banners and installation hardware. Borough employees will install the banners, which families of veterans have sponsored. The public will be able to sponsor more banners in the future.

©2020 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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