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Real-time board minutes allow immediate access to information in county government

Macomb County, MI
Program Year: 2012

The clerk’s office always gave priority to publishing the minutes of the county board meetings and they were usually available through the Web the same night of the meeting. However, that still created a delay between the time when the actions took place and the public record of it. Commissioners often make motions on complicated issues and it can get confusing to the public and other commissioners, especially if several motions are made or changed. The clerk’s office wanted to allow the public and commissioners to see motions as they are made and to allow the commissioners and the public to see what the clerk was recording to verify accuracy and promote accountability. Therefore, the County began presenting minutes in real time. The clerk’s office provides minutes of the county commission meetings live as they are happening through Google Docs. Google Docs allows others to see the document changes in real-time, as they are happening. This allows the public to watch as the clerk creates the minutes as the meeting is taking place. This allows commissioners to verify language before voting on a motion and allows the public and commissioners to immediately see results of votes. Many citizens have publicly commended the clerk’s office for the service. Many commissioners are able to log on with their netbooks, smartphones or laptops to follow along. The public is able to view the events as they happen without having to make time to travel to them. This live minute recording makes government officials more accountable.

Ms. Crystal Brenner
Administrative Assistant, Clerk's Office