Sales Inquiries
 

Contact Us
(800) 995-8696

 


 

Accela Insights

Better government through civic engagement

The Open Meeting Law Experience in Westwood, Massachusetts: How We Improved Transparency and Streamlined the Entire Meeting Process

The Open Meeting Law Experience in Westwood, Massachusetts: How We Improved Transparency and Streamlined the Entire Meeting Process
First, let me say that I am not an Open Meeting Law expert, nor is my interpretation of the law fact. This is an opinion piece on how here in Westwood, Massachusetts, we have used the Open Meeting Law to keep our residents informed and remain as transparent as possible with the way our community leaders make decisions. I have worked for the Town of Westwood as the Executive Assistant for the last eight years with the primary responsibility of supporting the Town Administrator in preparing packets for the biweekly Board of Selectmen meetings, including organization of the reports, attachments and proposed actions and maintaining all the records in the office. Massachusetts Open Meeting Law (OML), M.G.L. Chapter 30A, §§18-25 was created to require communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be transparent in their governance. Westwood takes OML very seriously and we follow the law to the best of our a......
Continue reading
4960 Hits
0 Comments

4 Ways Civic Technology Drives Results for Policy Outcomes

4 Ways Civic Technology Drives Results for Policy Outcomes
The below is an excerpt of my guest post on National League of Cities’ Cities Speak blog last week. You can read the full post here. Municipal laws and codes have been forged over decades and are currently facing challenges keeping up with emerging and rapidly expanding regulatory issues such as solar/clean energy and the legalization of marijuana and initiatives like the White House’s Startup in a Day challenge. Even with the best-intentioned legislation, public policy initiatives can stall without the proper tools to enable easy and efficient compliance. So how do governments balance the additional workload required to address these emerging issues with limited staff resources? How can cities keep up with the demands and expectations of their citizens? Fortunately, civic technology, which provides targeted solutions for governments to solve real problems, is experiencing exponential growth, reaching not just urban cities, but also suburbs, farm towns and remote resort villages. In ......
Continue reading
3753 Hits
0 Comments

Behind the Scenes: Lee Ann Slinkard in Professional Services

Behind the Scenes: Lee Ann Slinkard in Professional Services
How did you end up at Accela? My entire career has been in services. I initially thought I wanted to be a researcher. I was in a PhD program at UCSF in Health Psychology, and I made money on the side by helping nurses get the stats for their studies interpreted. I decided I really wanted to be more applied instead of a researcher. So, I got a job with a healthcare software company as a trainer and project manager, and ended up as SVP of Operations by the time I left. I was doing account management for a healthcare consulting company that was acquired by IBM. While I was at IBM, one of Accela’s board members contacted me and asked if I would think about coming over and helping them run a profitable services organization. After about a year of interviewing, we came to an agreement, and I’ve been here eve......
Continue reading
3871 Hits
0 Comments

The Mobile Citizen: Winter Storm Jonas, Philly 311 and a New Form of Customer Service (Part 4 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Winter Storm Jonas, Philly 311 and a New Form of Customer Service (Part 4 of 4)
This is the fourth post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizens and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ Late last month, Winter Storm Jonas hit much of the east coast. From Friday, January 22 to Sunday, January 24, the storm affected 102.8 million people and covered about 434,000 square miles in 26 states, according to the NOAA. For many local government officials, Winter Storm Jonas meant around-the-clock work to keep citizens safe, roads accessible and communication constant. In Philadelphia, the nationally renowned Philly 311 call center received more than 21,000 calls (8x more than normal), nearly 8,000 requests via its Accela-powered mobile app and website and 6,000 requests through social media. The efforts of the team behind Philly 311 are evidence of the changing nature of customer service in local government.......
Continue reading
3989 Hits
0 Comments

Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?

Environmental Health Informatics – Saving Lives?
The Environmental Health world, like other government domains, is fertile ground for aspirational data projects. Local Health Departments consistently capture records of applications, permits/licenses, inspections, violations, complaints and the time spent providing services. Financial accounting is also key to doing business. In some ways, our collected data is like a dashboard camera, constantly recording video out the windshield of an Uber car. In most cases, the video is never retrieved and studied…until there’s an accident (or a UFO sighting), in which case, it’s gold! The difference is that dashboard cams are cheap. Data collection is extremely expensive, yet expected without question. The “Dashboard Cam Effect” can be evident when we hear things like the following: Data Collection Dashboard Cam “Our data is collected, but never used again.” The dashboard camera is always on, but the video is never viewed. “Our million-dollar system is great at taking in data, but I can never get the r......
Recent Comments
fr
I had the opportunity to join Darryl and others at the NEHA Informatics meeting. As a long time local and State environmental heal... Read More
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 14:20
Continue reading
4150 Hits
3 Comments

Featured Customer: El Paso, Texas, Speeds Service and Centralizes Information across Multiple Departments

Featured Customer: El Paso, Texas, Speeds Service and Centralizes Information across Multiple Departments
There are so many powerful examples of local governments across the nation improving internal efficiencies while enhancing the way they deliver services to residents at the same time. The City of El Paso, Texas, demonstrates how governments can take advantage of the Accela Civic Platform across multiple departments to improve efficiencies and get everyone on the same page. In El Paso, more than 26 municipal departments were struggling with manual, paper-laden processes. Slow response times to citizen requests and complaints, delayed permit and license applications and approvals, and backlogged caseloads were just the beginning. The Environmental Services Department (ESD) was in the process of implementing the Accela Civic Platform, which was catching the attention of other departments. It soon became the main solution that would help address many of the City’s operational challenges and position it as a service and technology leader. Now, the City has traded the chaos of managing s......
Continue reading
4663 Hits
0 Comments