Politicians to receive new laptops and tablets

Strathcona Regional District directors will be getting new laptops or tablets for Christmas.

At the regional district board meeting last month, directors approved a motion to replace directors’ current laptops with newer models.

In an effort to embrace technology and save money in the long run, directors also adopted a Computer Technology policy which dictates that directors will receive a new laptop every three years, after their terms expire.

Brian Reardon, chief administrative officer of the Strathcona Regional District, said the directors are due for new computers.

“Included in the 2012 financial plan is a provision to replace the laptops currently being used by the board of directors,” Reardon said.

“These laptops have reached the end of their life cycle and are scheduled to be replaced.”

For the regional district, going paperless is a money saver.

Reverting back to a paper-based system is projected to cost $50,688 over the next three years based on producing a, on average, 100-page agenda couriered to each director for each meeting, which is equivalent to 528 agenda packages at $32 for three years.

Replacing existing laptops with new, Windows-based laptops would cost $20,000 over three years while replacing laptops with tablets is an even cheaper option at $15,000 over the same time span.

Reardon suggested in a report to the board that some directors may be best suited to an Applie iPad, which many local governments in B.C. are now using, while for others it would be more practical to stick with using a laptop.

“For the municipal directors (Gold River and Campbell River councillors) a tablet would be an ideal solution for accessing paperless agendas based on superior performance and reliability, as well as lower initial and operating costs,” Reardon said.

“The electoral area directors (those who represent Quadra and Cortes islands, Oyster Bay, Sayward, Zeballos, and Tahsis) have specific needs that exceed the capabilities of a tablet and would be better served by a new laptop.”

Reardon said regional district staff have been testing the iPad 4 over the past three months and are impressed with the results.

“Integration, security and performance of the iPad 4 have exceeded our expectations,” Reardon said.

“Adoption of this type of technology solution would be quick, simple and seamless.”

In the end the board voted to replace all existing laptops with either a tablet or new laptop, as preferred by each individual director.

That model is expected to cost the regional district between $15,000 and $20,000 over the next three years.

Directors will be expected to return their laptop or tablet at the end of their term.

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