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Farmington streamlines city's agendas

Accessing the city of Farmington’s meeting agendas from mobile devices just got a little bit easier. And a little more efficient for city staff, too.

The city of Farmington has entered into a license agreement with Novusolutions to implement a meeting management solution called NovusAgenda.

Right now, Farmington human resources director Brenda Wendlandt said, the city is participating as a pilot for the NovusAgenda technology. If the program does what it is supposed to, the technology will help the city of Farmington streamline its agenda writing and posting process.

The city of Farmington is required by Minnesota’s Access to Government Data statute to make all meeting agendas available to the public. In years past, that meant residents could get copies of the agendas at city hall, and they still can. But more recently the city has gone to simply posting the agenda copy on the city’s website.

The city had been working with a program called Agenda Manager, but that company did not keep up on its upgrades, making the program hard to use, Wendlandt said.

“We wanted something that met today’s technology. NovusAgenda does that,” she said.

Every month, various city staff members post agendas and related agenda documents on the city’s website. All of the city council’s regular meetings and workshops are posted, as are the agendas and materials for all of the city’s advisory commissions and the economic development authority. This technology should also standardize the look and organization of all of the meeting packets.

Those responsible to post those agendas use slightly different processes to do so, Wendlandt said, but with NovusAgenda, they will all be able to use the same process. That should help them minimize the time spent on creating and posting meeting agendas.

“I don’t know if there will be a huge difference in the way residents access or use the agendas, but it will make things more efficient internally, which basically saves taxpayer dollars,” Wendlandt said.

One advantage she does see for residents is that the NovusAgenda technology will make it easier for residents to access those agendas and attachments from their mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets.

During the pilot program the company will help streamline the process through two regular city council meetings. If the technology does not deliver the expected results, the city of Farmington is under no obligation to continue into a contract with the company.

“We really have nothing to lose,” she said. “We’re excited about it. We think it’s going to be a good product for the city.”

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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