• Governer Partner :City of Glendale
  • Department :City Clerk
  • Category :Open Gov, Process Improvement

Project Summary

Easy-to-use records request system for both city employees and residents.

Challenge Details

To create a streamlined way to receive records requests (collect and redact relevant documents) from multiple departments, and ultimately send requested documents back to the user in a timely manner.

The City Clerk is the Custodian of Records for the City of Glendale, with the primary responsibility to accurately record the actions and proceedings, and administer the City’s Records Management Program.

Currently, the Clerk’s office is overburdened by requests for public records requests made to the City. The number of requests coming into the City has increased steadily and is expected to jump dramatically over the next few years. All requests for records made to the City must be answered within 10 days as required by statute, unless the City exercises its statutory right to an extension of time if applicable. The Clerk’s office must work quickly to understand the requests in their entirety, coordinate with all relevant City departments to obtain information germane to a request, work with legal to redact private information contained in the collected documents, and ultimately deliver the request to the user within the 10 business day timeframe.

Glendale has been using a Microsoft SharePoint workflow to manage the process. Requests are collected predominantly online, though may also come in over the phone or by physical mail. Once in the SharePoint system, the request is processed by an analyst and mailed to relevant departments to collect documents mentioned in the request. Once documents are received from each department, they are sent to the legal team for redaction of private information, then back to the City Clerk to distribute them to the user/requestor. All of this back and forth of files via email is labor intensive for both the Clerk’s office and for the departments involved in a given request.

 

The City Clerk’s Office seeks a solution that would have the following outcomes:
• A streamlined records request workflow that reduces time spent in the process for City employees.
• A system that allows for documents to easily move between multiple users at all levels of the organization, while being managed centrally through one office. Documents are often confidential before passing through the redaction process via City Attorney, and should be protected by the electronic platform.
• The ability to redact any uploaded documents within the existing interface, so that they don’t have to be downloaded and uploaded as new files to complete a redaction.
• Automation of communication from the City Clerk to the requestor and to other germane departments.
• Any potential machine learning or artificial intelligence applications that could help further automate the processes of document review, categorization, distribution, or redaction.