With its 300 employees, The Town Clerk’s Office maintains the records of the town of Windham and its residents.
The Town Clerk's Office of the Town of Windham, stores and maintains all records for the town’s departments. It also processes and stores documents for its 16,000 residents, including motor vehicle and boat registration, hunting and fishing licenses, census upkeep and marriage, birth and death certificates. The office maintains election and voter records, board meeting minutes and historical documents, adhering strictly to the state’s regulations on proper retention of records.
Digitizing the town
State documents had to be stored on paper or microfilm. But when a state law approved electronic record keeping, Town Clerk Nicole Bottai launched a digitizing project to manage and retrieve records faster and more efficiently. Together with the Records Retention Committee, Bottai presented her idea and implementation plan to the Board of Selectmen, Capital Improvements Committee and residents. Her plan was approved and she selected DocuWare for its flexible cloud capabilities, great online reviews and a proven easy learning curve.
The benefits of the Electronic Age
Before the office went digital, the staff processed 18,000 motor vehicle registrations annually, storing all documents in labeled cardboard boxes stacked on metal shelves inside a vault room. The staff manually filed and searched for records, spending 7 to 10 days a month on organizing papers. With DocuWare in place, Bottai and her co-workers can retrieve many documents within five minutes. Using the DocuWare Printer function, the staff can automatically “print” a document to the DocuWare system—and then easily index and store it, eliminating hand filing. “It took us a long time to hand-file motor vehicle registrations,” Bottai says. “Now, as we are printing the registration, it is being sent automatically to DocuWare so we can index it to the correct silo.”
The office back-scanned existing public records, including election records, meeting minutes, town reports, appointment paperwork, and legal cases, among other documents. The staff currently stores about 26,000 documents in DocuWare. “It may seem overwhelming at first,” Bottai says, “but you don’t have to digitize everything all at once; do it piece by piece, one department or area at a time.”
Digitizing Other Departments
The Town Clerk’s Office aims to bring all departments online with DocuWare to better service both constituents and the Community Development Director. The office plans to give residents access to public documents in DocuWare via the town’s website. Bottai intends to use DocuWare Forms to onboard new residents, eliminating cumbersome paperwork. She is also promoting the DocuWare solution to other New Hampshire towns. “If the law in your state allows it, and you have full support from the necessary Boards, Committees, and the community, I encourage you to absolutely go forward with DocuWare and digital record storage,” she says.