Administrative Services Mgr
City of Fernandina Beach
April 21, 2017 1:00 a.m.
For the past ten years, I have had the privilege of working for the City of Fernandina Beach in exciting and interesting capacities. The first five years of my employment were in the City Clerk’s Office where I served as Deputy City Clerk. Currently, I work in the City Manager’s Office and serve as the Administrative Services Manager.
Through my work in the City Clerk’s Office, I learned the fundamentals of local government functions: public records retention, Sunshine Law matters, City Commission meeting agendas, minutes, and much more. This in-depth knowledge base, along with attending professional training and being mentored by outstanding professionals, assisted in developing a strong understanding of State statutes, local ordinances, as well as City policies and procedures.
In the City Manager’s Office, my roles and responsibilities are wide and diverse. The City Manager plays an integral role in the City’s daily inner workings. Accordingly, it is not unusual for my work to include assistance with every department, as well as state and federal agencies: City Commission and general staff support, budget administration, public relations, etc. I enjoy the variety of my work, and I have developed the skills necessary to participate in numerous departmental projects and activities.
One of my regular duties in the City Manager’s Office is preparing and finalizing the City Commission agenda (and supporting documents) for publishing. When I began working for the City in 2007, the City Clerk’s Office would print ten copies of each City Commission agenda packet (some packets were 500 pages or more!). Needless to say, some long nights were required due to late submittals, copier malfunctions, etc. The City Commission (and all City boards and committees), in enhancing our efforts to “go green,” converted from paper agenda packets to electronic agenda packets in 2011.
The preparation of agendas requires sufficient time. Many people do not realize that the deadline for City Commission agenda consideration is approximately three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date. By the time we publish an agenda for a meeting the following week, we are already well into the preparation for the next City Commission meeting. This time is needed to allow for sufficient review by the City Manager, the City Attorney, and other relevant City staff.
At the City Commission Visioning Workshop on January 12, 2016, the City Commission expressed support for the procurement of new agenda management software and funds were allocated in the Fiscal Year 2016/2017 budget. I reviewed, researched, studied, and attended product demonstrations from various companies and determined BoardSync offered the best value and level of service. I found BoardSync to be the most comprehensive, customizable and intuitive software that meets the City’s demand for agenda management software needs. This software also fully interfaces with existing recording software systems. One of the major benefits of using this software is it removes the need to route paper from the Department Director to the City Manager’s Office, and then on to the City Comptroller and City Attorney’s Office.
After a few weeks of data entry, BoardSync became active for City Commission agendas. On March 7, 2017, the City Commission successfully utilized the software for their first time. Reports received from staff regarding the program thus far have been positive and complimentary. BoardSync has allowed City agendas to become fully paperless.
Each day presents new and diverse challenges. I am thankful for the early teachings in my City career – many times I have referred back to this training and have been able to address most anything that comes my way with sound professionalism, courtesy, and business acumen.
Editor’s Note: City Manager Dale Martin asked Nicole Bednar, administrative services manager, to fill in during his brief absence this week. Martin will be back next week with his “Weekly Comments.”