Westwood, Massachusetts, Moves Its Board and Committee Appointment Process Online

Town automates appointment process to manage and track nearly 50 boards and commissions

Established in 1897, the quaint Town of Westwood, Massachusetts, offers residents the amenities of suburban life while providing easy access to Boston, located just 12 miles away. Westwood boasts plenty of open spaces, excellent schools, municipal facilities and a strong sense of community. In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Westwood 13th on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.

Inefficient, time-consuming appointment process

Each year, Westwood appoints an average of 300 to 400 citizens to boards and committees to complement its municipal offices. To manage and track the appointment process for nearly 50 boards and commissions, town administrators were using an inefficient combination of Microsoft® Word and Excel, and an outdated “mom-and-pop shop” Access database. Highly manual in practically every way, the process was time-consuming and often overwhelming.

According to Christine McCarthy, Executive Assistant for the Town of Westwood, it was also prone to errors. “We were working on multiple sheets, we were working on multiple programs and we were going back and forth from Word to Excel to phonebook software to pull addresses over,” she shares.

How Accela empowers the Town of Westwood

“We asked ourselves what kinds of programs are out there that could do this seamlessly, and in all honesty, the answer for us really was Accela Boards and Commissions,” explains Christine. Part of the Accela Legislative Management suite, Accela Boards and Commissions is a cloud-based solution that offers process automation and convenient accessibility via a secure remote desktop to town administrators, staff and all of those serving on boards and commissions.

A customizable dashboard features a snapshot of current vacancies, appointments and the number of those who have not yet been sworn in — consolidating all the information they need in one place. The timesaving “rollover” feature also creates enormous efficiencies by allowing staff to view board members’ appointment history and other details by simply rolling over a person’s name in the system.

In addition, the expiring term email notification automatically sends email notifications and reminders to those whose terms are expiring, eliminating the need to print and mail hundreds of letters.

The bottom line

The Town of Westwood has saved considerable time and cost associated with tracking appointments for the hundreds of citizens who volunteer on boards and commissions each year. Using a single, robust solution for everything instead of switching back and forth between multiple programs, manually printing hundreds of letters, stuffing envelopes and paying postage has freed up internal resources and saved expenses, allowing staff to focus more on the community and less on clerical tasks.
 

Interested in learning more?

To learn more about the Accela Civic Platform and what it can do for your agency, please call us at (888) 722-2352 or fill out our simple online form.

Westwood MA seal

Customer
Westwood, MA

Population
14,626

Challenge
Time-consuming process took considerable staff time to track appointments and maintain records, and created slow response time for those requesting information.

Solution
Accela Legislative Management

Results
Saved valuable staff time by bringing the appointment process online

Improved accessibility and integrity by consolidating disparate data into single solution

Eliminated the need for manual data entry, mail merging, stuffing envelopes, paying postage and sending out letters

Provided convenience and flexibility with a fully web-based solution that is accessible anytime  

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