Must-Have Apps for Government Office Employees

appsDo you love your smartphone? Do you find yourself obsessed with apps? Then do we have something fun for you! It’s our favorite Apps for Government Employees.

  • Google Docs: The powerful suite of document creation and editing tools from Google. This Cloud-based services allows users to quickly create, revise, share and store documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from any location with internet access.
  • Ergonomics: This app gives office workers health tips, options for low impact stretches, and tracks activity levels. It also allows users to set notifications when it’s time to get up and stretch.
  • Trello: This popular project management tool is similar to Basecamp, but it’s free. Read more >
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    How to Organize Your Computer and Virtual Space

    13_58_11Did spring cleaning (and maybe summer, fall and winter cleaning) pass your computer by?

    With so many to-do’s to check off the mile-long list on any clerk’s desk, it’s hard to get around to tidying things up and organizing your desk and computer. But a tidy space (virtual and otherwise) can actually help get things done quicker, and more efficiently.

    It doesn’t have to take all day, either! Here are some “quick and dirty” tips for organizing your office computer.

    Organize Your Virtual Space

    Email management

    Managing and organizing email can be an extremely frustrating task. Using tags to organize emails is an effective method that allows you to specify keywords that describe the topic of the email for simple searching at a later time. Read more >

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    2,000 Members and Counting…City Clerk Cafe

    city_clerk_coloredWhere can you learn about storage apps such as Dropbox, gather tips for taking minutes, and exchange stories from the frontline of a City Clerk?  You can do all this (and more!) on the The City Clerk Cafe on LinkedIn.  And that’s probably why so many city clerks–2,000-plus actually–have joined this LinkedIn group.

    The City Clerk Cafe has thousands of members from all around the country, giving clerks the opportunity to connect, network, and brainstorm together in an organized forum.  It also allows members to track discussions, search for jobs, ask questions, share advice, and get updates on the latest seminars and conferences.  Read more >

    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Partners, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

    Close the Gender Pay Gap and Ask For More Money

    MoneyFACT: On average, American full-time women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.

    FACT: Many women don’t even know they are being underpaid, so they cannot secure themselves equal pay for equal work.

    FACT: Fifty-one percent of women report they are discouraged or forbidden from discussing their wages.

    FACT: Women earn the majority of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate Degrees.

    FACT: You are most likely a part of these statistics, and don’t even know it.

    There has been a lot of discussion about the President’s “Equal Pay for Women” in the news over the past several months. While this is all great news for working American women, we believe that we cannot sit around and wait for the government to mandate these equal pay rights. Read more >

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    Can That Be True? How to Spot an Illegitimate Claim on Social Media

    Have you seen the commercial where a man and women are discussing truths and the woman always replies that it must be true because she “read it on the Internet.” The commercial then closes by the woman meeting up with her online boyfriend who claims to be (but is so very obviously not) a “French model”?

    With the Internet being our primary source for information these days, it’s hard to remember that what is on the Internet is only as good the source reporting the information.

    Both the glory and the pitfall of Internet information is that ANYONE, ANYWHERE can publish information on ANYTHING. Read more >

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    Tips for Office Moves

    Ah the pains of moving.  The drywall dust in your coffee, the banging of a hammer while on the phone, and the unorthodox placement of common office equipment like the copy machine.  It’s anything but pleasant, and here at Black Mountain Software, we are feeling the everyday pains of both moving an office and converting a once-residential property into a corporate office. Which is why we thought the timing of an article on easing the pains of an office move was perfect!

    Tips for Office Moves

    Get the details.  Find out where your new office will be, what kind of office arrangement has been determined, and when the move will take place. Read more >

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    Getting Started with Lean Projects and Lean Measures

    Saving in a piggy bank

    What do you think of when you hear the word “lean government”? Painful? Financial hardship? More work?

    What you rarely hear in conjunction with the word “lean” is the benefits of lean operation. When properly executed, effective lean management can lead to sustainable, efficient, and effective government offices – offices that deliver more value with less waste. The key is finding and establishing the appropriate lean procedures and executing them correctly.

     

    Keys to Successful Lean Measures

     

    Leadership.

    In order for “lean” to work, it must be executed by leaders who introduce the lean concepts in a manner that is: respectful, positive, opportunistic to the office as a whole, open-minded, adoptive, and by a person who is personally committed to the process. Read more >

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    In terms of finance, what is a derivative?

    Money

    Derivative: It’s a confusing topic, which is why it was no surprise to see a flurry of activity on a city clerk listserv the other day when one of the clerks received a Notice of Municipal Derivatives Settlement. The answers she got were as foggy as the term.

    So, what exactly is a derivative? We decided to simplify it for you using a mnemonic devise using the word “derivative.”

    D – Derivative: A Derivative is a financial contract that derives its value based on the performance of another entity.

    E – Entity: Entities determine the value of derivative, such as an asset, index, or interest rate. Read more >

    Posted in Accounting Basics, BMS Partners, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Tips for Seeking Government Grant Monies for Technology and Beyond!

    Money!The bad news? Following the sequester, cuts went into place that reduced funding for state grants by $5.1 billion.

    The good news? The result was higher grant funding (in some states) where grants in 2013 actually surpassed that of 2012—and there are still a significant amount of subsidies left!

    The Center for Digital Government (CDG) estimates $93.1 billion will be spent on IT-related purchases in state and local government in 2014, and your organization can get a piece of this pie. Here’s how.

    Tips for Seeking Government Grant Monies:

  • Know what grants are out there for the taking. CDW-G has a list of technology grants available for local government agencies. Read more >
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    FAQ’s For Writing Effective Emails

    English: email envelope

    Have you ever deleted an email before opening it? Or responded to a long email before reading it all the way through?

    You may feel a twinge of guilt over doing this, but perhaps it’s not completely your fault. After all, if the subject line had caught your attention, and the note was concise, would you have responded differently?

    Despite the fact that email has been around for decades, there is still a lot of confusion about what makes a good or bad email. So, we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions about emails to help your email communications become more readable, concise, and recipient-friendly. Read more >

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