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Bettendorf officials go on-line.

The mayor and city council members of Bettendorf, Iowa were provided personal computers and modems to enable them to electronically communicate with the city administrator, department heads and each other, as well as to view city financial records such as budgets and expenditures.

"Often a council member receives a citizen complaint at home and after City Hall is closed," said City Administrator Decker Ploehn. "Now, the council member can log in and leave me a note about the concern. The next day I receive it and follow-up by posting a reply message detailing our response. The response is documented to the council member and handled more quickly and without playing phone tag."

Additionally, the elected officials use the access to alert the administrator, and each other, of matters on upcoming agendas of particular concern.

Coupled with this ability to communicate is the ability to view city financial records. With the ability to on-line track a department or vendor, the elected officials can assure themselves that monies allocated are spent as budgeted.

Several of the elected officials already had personal computers. For them, the city provided the modem only. Total cost for the program was less than $10,000, and as council turnover occurs, the equipment is passed along to the incoming member.

Giving elected officials tools to better communicate with city staff and each other promotes greater knowledge and efficiency. It is truly an idea that works.
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Title Annotation:computer communication network in Bettendorf, Iowa
Author:Jager, Gregory S.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jan 23, 1995
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