Local Government Best Practices: Spencer, IA

Brian Weuve of Spencer, IA.Our 'Local Government Best Practices' series profiles innovators in the public sector who are bringing digital transformation to their municipality.

Today we're featuring Brian Weuve, Deputy City Manager/Finance Director for Spencer, IA.

The seal of Spencer, IA

I've been with the city for almost 7 years in the same role. Previous to that, my government experience started in January of 2000. I've worked in communities of all sizes,  mostly in city administrator roles. In Spencer, I became the de facto IT head for the city about 5 years ago. We did a technology study, so that's why I'm involved with SeamlessDocs.

How did you get involved with local government?

My college degree is in Public Administration, so I always looked for a career in the public sector. I did an internship with the City of Boone as part of my undergraduate degree, where I got to oversee operations and got to experience what all the departments do. Sometimes state and federal government can feel elusive, but local government has the power to provide that positive interaction with people. We see the impact we have on our citizens every day.

How did you first hear about SeamlessDocs?

I can't remember! Our whole technology changed when I started here. We implemented paperless council meetings, for one. During that process, we discussed how we could make our interactions with the public more seamless, allowing them to fill out forms and submit them to us electronically.

Why did you decide to go paperless?

The paperless goal from Council was set up before I got here. Paperless meetings was one of the first big pushes, because creating and distributing packets took up a lot of staff time. Council wanted to reduce footprint and make things easier, which inspired the push for paperless.

Making Beautiful Government is being available to our citizens at their convenience. They may not be able to get into City Hall from 8 to 5 without sacrificing something. If we can do anything to make their interaction with us easier, then we've improved our relation with that citizen.

An image of a street in Spencer, Iowa.

What was implementation of SeamlessDocs like?

It's been an ongoing process. We keep changing and adding forms. We started off with some internal functions, using SeamlessDocs internally to digitize forms we were using on a daily or weekly basis.

Name one form or process that's been changed by SeamlessDocs

The form we've used the most so far is our daily solid waste charges. We were getting those by fax every day. They were hard to read, maybe the fax came through, maybe it didn't. Now, our transfer station fills them all out online, our person in charge of billing adds the amounts, they both sign off on it, and each department has a final daily sheet to refer back to if there's questions. And now it's legible! We're no longer waiting to get a daily sheet. Now it gets out there and we have it as soon as they submit it. We keep our workflow flowing.

Favorite SeamlessDocs Feature?

We just started using the payment integration in the last few months. We're seeing that build in popularity throughout the community, being able to pay bills via credit card online. Aquatic center passes or season golf passes now can be filled out and paid for from the comfort of a citizen's own home. You can also pay your solid waste bill or electrical permit bill online.

Advice for another municipality just starting out with SeamlessDocs?

Start slow! What we found is by doing our internal forms first we could get accustomed to the software. If you made a mistake it's not crucial because it's internal. We've had it for 4 years and we're still rolling out new forms and processes. Don't rush through – make sure the processes work so that when it's released to the public it's flawless.

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