Brookhaven's PD Streamlined Records Requests and Online Payments

Introduction

 

Contributors: Cheryl Robinson-Smith, systems analyst for the City of Brookhaven (GA), and Larry Davidson, JustFOIA’s general manager.

The City of Brookhaven stretches over 12 square miles with a population of about 50,000 in the metro Atlanta area.

IT Implementation & Change Management

 

 
Brookhaven’s IT Analyst was a part of the implementation of JustFOIA in their organization from the start. It turns out that the hardest part wasn’t IT related at all – change management was the kicker! It took the team a few months before they let go of the spreadsheets and they now work directly within JustFOIA.

Building Trust & Transparency

JustFOIA was a natural fit for the City of Brookhaven. “Convincing the city clerk’s office to get JustFOIA was easy, but getting them to move from the trusted spreadsheet system wasn’t as easy. It took a few months for them to become fully comfortable with the solution and let go of the spreadsheet. If there were features that the city clerk’s office needed, we would reach out to JustFOIA, and they expedited the feature. That gave them the confidence to only use JustFOIA for open records requests,” said Cheryl Robinson-Smith.

 

 

Tackling Over 400 Open Records Requests

The Police Department was reluctant, but it wasn’t long before they saw the value in an all-in-one, cloud-based FOIA software. “Previously, the Police Department was using a spreadsheet, requests were coming in by phone and walk-ins with one person handling it. Once that person left, they couldn’t figure out what was done and not completed. At that point, they called the city clerks office who had already been using JustFOIA for years, and asked if they could use it to take open records requests,” said Smith.

 

 

“There were over 400 open requests that were backlogged, and they were able to get it down to a manageable number of 40 to 60. After implementation, we also added payments through JustFOIA, which was also appealing to our police department, as previously, you had to go into the office to make payments. Once they were on board, we helped them create templates, emails, and workflows using the platform, and as of this year, they are all up-to-date with no backlog.”

Reducing Foot Traffic by Providing Payments Online

 

 

Taking payments through the system saves the City of Brookhaven time and money, and the headache of tracking down checks and payments from requesters. “Now, with JustFOIA, we get more payments through JustFOIA than the city clerk’s office,” emphasized Smith. “It was beneficial for both departments. We were able to recoup thousands of dollars, and everything is organized. Being able to make payments online streamlined the process, whereas before someone had to bring in a check and then it had to make its way to finance, possibly getting lost in the process.”

“We were able to recoup thousands of dollars, and everything is organized. Being able to make payments online streamlined the process,” Cheryl Robinson-Smith exclaimed.

Requesting Features Built Confidence with Each New Release

 

 

Their favorite part? A platform built for its users. “One thing we love is that if we reach out for support, you take note, listen, and the feature appears soon after,” beamed Smith. “The dashboard on JustFOIA is just great. Supervisors can see how many requests are outstanding, and what tasks need to be completed. It’s also great for other users to use, you don’t have to be in IT to learn to use it, and I don’t have to go train everyone on every step.”

Benefiting from User Group Feedback

 

 
One of the things that we’re most proud of about JustFOIA is our software as a service (Saas) solution developed from MCCi’s Laserfiche client feedback to empower them to manage and track records requests in a central, cloud-based location. Brookhaven played a significant role in new feature design and continues to do so.

The best news? You don’t have to be an IT administrator to implement JustFOIA – it’s that easy to use – your users will thank you for that!

Interested in seeing how JustFOIA can work for your organization? Get in touch today.

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