Board 2 tosses paper for tablets at its meetings
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Just call them C.B. 2.0.
Community Board 2 is leading the way among community boards by going paperless for its full-board meetings.
Normally, at the once-monthly meetings of the full 50-member board, C.B. 2 members get a plump, legal-size envelope packed full of papers, including all the resolutions from the board’s committee meetings, which the full board then votes on.
However, at its recent July meeting, C.B. 2 members could be seen peering intently at computer tablets and laptops — and, no, they weren’t reading The Villager or even updating their Facebook status.
Under an initiative led by David Gruber, the board’s chairperson, they were all diligently scrolling through a PDF of the committee resolutions that they would be considering that evening.
Board members were encouraged to bring their own tablets or laptops to the meeting. Meanwhile, Gruber used a fund of extra community board cash to buy 20 tablets for use by board members lacking one.
At noon the day of the meeting, the board office e-mailed out a single PDF to the members.
“It’s like a newspaper deadline, all the committee reports are in there,” Gruber noted.
The various committee reports had been assembled into one long file.
Board members then uploaded the PDF to their tablets.
Local residents can also download the PDF by going to the C.B. 2 Web site.
“We want the public to download it,” Gruber stated.
Paper printouts of committee resolutions were still available to the public at the July meeting.
If a board member brings a tablet to the meeting but hasn’t uploaded the PDF, it’s no problem. There will always be a flash drive with the file on hand that can be plugged into the laptop and uploaded in seconds. Or, if they have an iPad, board members can upload the file via WiFi, assuming the meeting room has adequate reception.
The board chairperson bought Acer tablets because, unlike iPads, they have a standard port to accept a flash drive.
After the meeting, the board’s Acer tablets were collected from the members who used them. Each tablet has a number on it, so the board can keep track of them.
Gruber said he’s been fielding calls from other boards curious about how they might replicate the C.B. 2 process.
Asked about her experience using a tablet, board veteran Doris Diether, 85, said, “I thought it was kind of interesting. I didn’t know we had to give them back. I was just getting the hang of it!”