Archived Story

Austin City Council mulls going to paperless agendas

Published 11:38am Monday, April 21, 2014

By Trey Mewes, Austin Daily Herald

AUSTIN — The Austin City Council will discuss the next step in its city administrator search as well as switching to paperless council agendas at its upcoming work session today.

The city has been without a city administrator since the council fired Jim Hurm in December. The council decided last month to temporarily pause its search to fill the vacant position earlier this year after city staff said they could operate as-is on a short-term basis. The city is waiting about 90 days before taking action so city staff and council members can gather input from city employees and residents.

A majority of department heads agree that a city administrator is necessary, according to a report by Human Resources Director Tricia Wiechmann. She wrote the city needs to have a “strong administrator who can handle day-to-day decisions, make recommendations and provide direction.”

Mayor Tom Stiehm said the latest report, along with the other input, will likely cause the council to move forward on a city administrator ahead of its 90-day waiting period.

Council members will discuss making the switch to paperless council agendas at future meetings. That would mean purchasing at least eight iPads or other tablets for the council, with potentially another seven more for city department directors. City staff said it would cost about $4,400 to buy the iPads for council members and about $3,850 to cover tablets for department heads.

The measure isn’t intended to save money, but city staff would save at least 2.5 hours copying at least 22 paper copies of meeting and work session agendas for city staff, the council, media members and the public each week.

Agendas would still be posted online and would be available to the public.