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Franklin County wants to slash its paper use [Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.]
[July 22, 2009]

Franklin County wants to slash its paper use [Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.]

(Public Opinion (Chambersburg, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jul. 22--Franklin County government is taking strides toward a paperless workplace.

County commissioners have beefed up the county information services department and added software to make the most of electronic technology.

"We're trying to put everything in place to avoid needing paper," said Noll Wilt, director of Information Services. "For every box we don't buy, we save $275." For example, the county purchasing department has not purchased paper this year, compared to about one or two boxes a month in 2008, according to Wilt. The numbers for the other 80 county agencies were not available.

Instead of buying print toner and paper, the county has been investing in software and training.

County employees "print" documents to Laserfiche, where they are stored so others can view the documents on their computers.

Commissioners went easy on the Information Services department at budget time. The agency employs nine.

"We are fully staffed for the first time in two years," Wilt said.

The agency will be taking over administration of the county's in-house telephone system.

Wilt said he would like to add more positions to the department and a help desk for employees. Currently Information Services has two employees to trouble-shoot computers for 850 employees.

Technology and information systems are crucial to making county operations more efficient, Commissioner David Keller said. Electronic storage of documents also will reduce the need for buildings to store hard copies.

Commissioners also are posting information on the county's Web site, including forms for absentee ballots and gun permits, the county budget, their meeting agendas and minutes, sheriff's sales and job postings and applications.

Wilt said the county could save an additional $30,000 a year if employees received electronic notification instead of paper check stubs. All county employees have direct deposit.

Computers no longer vital to county operations would be reused in kiosks at the county jail and county nursing home where employees without home computers could access their pay information.

The county is making bulk purchases of computers this year by piggybacking on state contracts, Wilt said. Savings: $10,000. The life of a county computer is three to five years.

The county also is making use of "open source" software for a savings of $6,000 this year, Wilt said. Switching to another networking software vendor will be more efficient and save $5,000 this year and $20,000 a year in the future.

The county is also replacing outdated software to manage its pension fund. The efficiency will eliminate a full-time position dedicated to the task, Wilt said.

------ Jim Hook can be reached at 262-4759 and

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