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Business & Occupational Licensing: 5 Things Every Government Should Expect from their Vendor


(Matthew Thomas / Flickr) It’s no secret that cities and states have an affinity for small businesses. They provide services in areas big box stores might dismiss for lack of size. They pay locals to deliver local goods. They add a sense of originality to localities and are often the key contributors to tax revenues. State and local governments know that enabling business growth enables communities. With this mindset, governments should always be hunting for business and occupational licensing solutions that can simplify the regulatory process so business owners can focus on services instead of paperwork. Unfortunately, finding the right IT vendor can be precarious. Some business and occupational licensing solutions radiate sheer innovation, yet fizzle when paired with poor service agreements and lackluster development plans. Similar to other IT services, selecting a bad licensing vendor can translate to a number of maladies that can include cybersecurity vulnerabilities if security isn't managed well, gaps in...
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Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Licenses

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State leadership used Accela's Civic Solution for Cannabis to process the applications This month Michigan achieved a major milestone in cannabis regulation with the release of its first set of medical marijuana licenses. On July 12 the state's Medical "Marihuana" Licensing Board granted licenses to four large grow and transport operations based in Chesaning, Ann Arbor and Lansing. Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) used Accela's Cannabis Solution to process the requests and the hundreds that are still more under review. The state estimates that medical marijuana will become a $700 million industry and a driver of economic development. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press Andrew Brisbo, the director of LARA's Bureau of Medical "Marihuana" Regulation said that the state is eager to begin the next phase of the regulatory process, issuing licenses to additional growers and testing facilities. Issuing licenses to the testing facilities represents...
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Launching Accela CRM: Muhlenberg Township Shares Its Keys for Success

Launching Accela CRM: Muhlenberg Township Shares Its Keys for Success
Recently, Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania, launched Accela Citizen Relationship Management (formerly PublicStuff), expanding its use of the Accela Civic Platform – the Township also uses Accela Finance and Administration to manage its complex finance and accounting processes.  Notably, the Township was able to launch Accela Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) in less than seven weeks. As a way to understand this successful launch, and hopefully provide lessons to those currently in the implementation stage (and others considering a CRM solution), I spoke with Joe Mench, Director of Information Technology for the Township. Like many IT officials in local government, Joe wears many hats. Not only is he responsible for IT planning, but he also serves as business analyst, strategist and designer for the Township. In bringing Accela CRM to his community, Joe was involved in the purchasing and implementation of the product. (He’s also a citizen user – he lives in Reading,...
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Making Modernization a Reality for More Than 300 Communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Making Modernization a Reality for More Than 300 Communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England, it is also packed full of very small communities, over half of which have under 10,000 residents (with 80 percent under 40,000). And the proportionally smaller budgets have traditionally kept the most advanced and capable technological solutions out of reach. Not any longer. Accela and zedIT have partnered to bring the Civic Platform to small towns in an affordable and quick fashion with rapid implementation packages, making the best in government modernization finally attainable to the small towns in the Commonwealth. With built-in industry best practices specific to the needs of Massachusetts towns, the Civic Platform includes support for emerging state-level initiatives to improve user experience and citizen service. Read the announcement .
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Evanston 311: City Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of Its Successful 311 Call Center

Evanston 311: City Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of Its Successful 311 Call Center
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This post is part of our weeklong celebration of 311 Day on March 11th. Use the hashtag #Getthe311 to follow the celebration on Twitter. ---- Earlier this month, the City of Evanston, Illinois, celebrated the five-year anniversary of its successful 311 call center. The success of the program can be summed up by this July article in the Chicago Tribune . Columnist Christine Wolf describes how, following an accident involving her son, Evanston 311 helped drive change that brought improved signage to a dangerous intersection. “Knowing I had someone to call about an issue important to me kept the lines of communication open and positive – a much-needed reminder for this working mom,” she wrote. Since implementation, the City has received 678,101 calls, 132,270 requests, 9,916 live chats and 1,459 texts. What makes Evanston 311 worth celebrating is the City's commitment to public service. In addition to a 311 line,...
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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
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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...
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