Call it old-fashioned, but Wellington council prefers its paper

By Catherine Gabe -

Call them old-fashioned, but Wellington council members have decided not to go digital.

Village manager Steven Pyles suggested replacing paper documents with electronic tablets for meetings as a cost-savings measure. Council instead opted to stay with hard copies.

“I’m just throwing this out as an option since we have a more technology-friendly mayor now,” Pyles said at last week’s meeting. “In the end I think we’d save money, but if you want to stay with paper, we’re OK with that.”

Agendas are sometimes 60 pages long and each council member receives a copy prior to the meeting.

The council clerk already emails the pages and accompanying reports in advance of the meeting to all village legislators. Current estimates for 13 hard copies is $988 a year.

“The purchase of six modestly priced tablets for council use would be fully offset in the first year of switching to this method,” Pyles wrote in a memo to council.

Mayor Hans Schneider asked whether the decision had to be unanimous. “It’s probably best to go all in on it,” Pyles said.

Weighing in on the digital side was Keith Rowland. “I’m 100 percent digital,” he said. Council members Helen Dronsfield, president Sandy Denes, and Guy Wells were in the hard copy/paper camp.

“I like having the security,” Dronsfield said. “I like my hard copies.” She also said she likes to curl up at night with a book versus an electronic device.

“Anyone who has tried to look up their home movies from the 70s or their VHS tapes from the 80s finds out how very temporary these things are,” councilman Guy Wells said. “This is temporary, too… That’s my only real worry about totally digitizing.”

Denes called herself old-fashioned and said she likes to mark up copies, which she keeps as a record of past business.

Council member Mark Bughman was 50-50, saying he likes making physical notes but is a fan of using technology.

Council member Gene Hartman is on the computer all day long for work, but, like Bughman, still likes his hard copies. “I’ve highlighted and written in sections,” he said.

Wells added, “In 20 years, there will be a table full of Millennials here wondering, ‘Why the hell did they do it that way?’ “

Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.

By Catherine Gabe