Model Rollout Plan for Town Clerks

So how do we get started using this for your town? This plan is based on our experience in Barre...

Learn the System
Start by going to the home page and clicking the "Anytown, USA" link. This will walk you through the interfaces that board and committee members will use to schedule meetings and post documents. You want to approach other town officials with confidence that this system is easy to use, and that successful rollout is virtually guaranteed. If you have any doubts about that, E-mail Me, and we'll talk it through. Also, contact Ellen Glidden, the Town Clerk of Barre. She'll be happy to talk to you about our experiences here.
Build Awareness
Send emails to your selectboard, town administrator, town IT people if you have them, etc., and suggest that they check this site out. There are probably a couple of adminstrative assistants in your town who are responsible for the paperwork for many boards. These are key people to bring in early, as they are the ones who's lives will be most impacted (positively!) by switching to this system. Also, get your town librarian into the loop. Libraries have publically-accessible computers, and your library staff would love to help users of the system.
Start a Pilot
Approach your town administrator, manager, selectboard, or whoever makes sense in your town, and suggest that we start a pilot. You are probably working with a lot of paper forms right now. During the pilot, boards will learn to provide notice to you using this system. As town clerk, you have access to special pages on this site that make printing these notices easy. (You will also get everything via email.) So you'll print them out, and do whatever you currently do with the paper you get now. Also during this time, you'll figure out which external agencies need to be using this system to send you notices, and which ones are covered by notices on their own web sites. This pilot phase will probably last 1-2 months.
Deal with Legal Issues
I'm perfectly happy to add towns with no written contract. There isn't any money involved for the first year, and after that, we'll be such good friends that a contract will seem silly. But your town counsel probably feels differently, so I'll work with them as much as they need. I've prepared a sample agreement we can use to get the conversation going.
Bootstrap the System
As town clerk, you can easily add users, boards, and external agencies to the system. But to get started, you probably want me to do that for you, because entering all that data will take a lot of time, and I can automate a lot of it. I've prepared a trivial Excel Worksheet that you can fill in and send me to get things started. Note that every user of the system must have an email address. If the chair of a board does not use email, just leave that spot blank. At a minimum, you want to identify one computer user on each board (or a town admin who helps that board), who will be the initial person responsible for that board's postings. In the worksheet, that person is called the "clerk". Send me a separate worksheet for all the external agencies you need as well. (I will deal with cases where multiple client towns have postings from the same external agencies.)
Announce the Pilot
Send an email to all the people you listed in the worksheet, letting them know that you are switching to a computer-based system for meeting notices. In coordination with you, I'll tell the site to send a welcome message to all the users, giving them their login instructions.
Support the Pilot
During the pilot, users may have some questions. As it turns out, I didn't have any support issues at all when we rolled this out in Barre, so there probably will not be much to do here. Over the course of the first month, you'll identify boards, agencies, and individuals that you missed, and you can add those to the system as needed. As I mentioned above, you will probably be printing a lot of paper in this phase, to keep your current posting method up-to-date.
Final Approval
Get final approval from whoever you need to in town to make this the official posting method for open meetings. Explain that everyone has been using the system for a while now, so all this really changes is that you no longer have to manage all that paper. Contact the AG's office and get their approval to switch to using this system.
Add a link to{your zip code} onto your town web site. Put a notice (which must be visible 24/7) on your building with this web address, and also list the site telephone number. Contact the local paper, and let them know. Update the outbound message on the Town Clerk's answering machine to mention this site and the access phone number. Tell the dispatchers, in case someone calls them asking about meetings. Get your PEG Access Coordinator involved, so you can have these meeting notices appear on local cable access. Suggest that the library put a shortcut to this site on all their computers.
I will be updating the site's functionality from time to time, as users suggest new features. I've created this Users Forum that you can join. I expect that there will eventually be demand for a better experience on iPhones, Blackberrys, and other mobile devices, so that will be coming, too. On your end, you will need to add users and boards from time to time. Once everyone is using the system for open meeting notices, you should encourage them to post approved minutes on the system as well.