Appointed Vs. Elected Clerks: Which is Better?

ballot for elected officialRecently on our LinkedIn Group, The City Clerk Café, someone posed the question, “Which is better – elected or appointed clerks?” and asked for feedback regarding how their city clerk positions are filled and what the pros and cons are of each.

We thought this brought up a great topic of debate and would like to share with you some of the benefits we (and fellow city clerks) came up with when it comes to both types of city officials.

Pros to Appointed Clerks

No campaign garbage. When a clerk is appointed, they don’t have to spend time campaigning and rallying, so there is no election mail, campaign flyers, and yard signs to produce, procure, and assemble just to end up in the landfill someday. Read more >

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Is Your Customers’ Information Really Secure? Inadequate Policies May Be Putting You at Risk

Privacy and security are hot-button words right now. We’ve seen endless media reports of retail data breaches, hacking, and identity theft. As a result, the public places an increasing importance on the safety and security of their personal information. At BMS, we understand the challenges our clients face when it comes to creating and maintaining adequate security measures. We also know that sometimes, these measures become out-of-date or inadequate to meet new dangers. We encourage all of our clients to periodically assess their security protocols so that they feel confident that they are best serving their own customers. Here are some tips to consider for both physical and electronic data:

Physical Records and Information

  • Have a clearly defined protocol as to how physical records are kept and stored, as well as who has the authority to access them.
Read more >
Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Government Accounting Standards, Office Efficiency, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

8 Tips to Get Your Family Back-to-School Ready

back to schoolWe are fast approaching what some parents rejoice as the most wonderful time of the year. A new school year is just around the corner, and before we wallow in the joy of occupied children, we still need to get both our kids and our homes ready. Here are eight tips that will help you start the school year off right:

  • Schedule any medical and dental checkups now. By getting these out of the way, you will avoid any missed school time for appointments, or jockeying for those limited after-school slots.
  • Make sure your kids completed any summer reading assignments or projects.
Read more >
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Is Your Workspace Dragging You Down? That Unsightly Mess May Be Why You Feel Stressed

For city clerks and office personnel, on-the-job stress is a common factor. From customer service headaches to technology failures, you are constantly bombarded with situations that test the limits of your patience. While you can’t change that irate customer’s behavior or drop-kick your IT person for another computer crash, you can find out if other factors are only adding to your stress level and hampering job performance. One of the biggest contributors to how you feel throughout the day is right under y our nose, and you may not realize that your desk and office environment are dragging you down.

A messy and disorganized workspace triggerFrustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)s unconscious stress, and contributes to those feelings of being overwhelmed, behind in your work, or claustrophobic. Read more >

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Enjoying The Season — Tips To Make The Most Of Your Summer

As the weather warms and our thoughts drift to lazy afternoons and backyard barbecues, our work environments sometimes seem more stifling than ever. We never outgrow that inner yearning for the freedom and adventure that summer brings, but we can also feel weighed down by those adult responsibilities as we face the same old, day-to-day tasks. However, your summer experience is all about mindset, and with a dash of planning and foresight, you can make the most of this season both on and off the job. Here are just a few tips to help you embrace this season to its fullest:

  • Plan any vacation time now—If you anticipate taking any vacation time this summer, schedule it with your work team as soon as possible.
Read more >
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The STEM Education Movement—Is a Too-Narrow Focus Harming Our Future Workforce?

Science and technology are driving our economic future, and in turn, influencing the education and career paths of new college students. In the software industry, stories of young innovators who become overnight millionaires abound, leading the new generation of students to pursue STEM-based majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics academic disciplines). More employers want job candidates who are technologically savvy through STEM experience, even those in administrative positions. The STEM-concentrated academic arena promises to prepare students for the future ahead, and give them the best chance at landing the most lucrative, in-demand careers.

However, in their drive to stay on the cutting-edge, many students miss out on key components of a well-rounded education. Read more >

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How-To: Blog Descriptions

Blogs are a very informative way to keep up with many topics: current news, technology, food, fitness, personal opinions, and much more. Some blogs are great just to browse during your free time. But many of us don’t have a lot of free time, so it’s much more efficient to sign up for notification alerts whenever the blog manager posts a new article. The process to sign up for blog notifications, however, varies from blog to blog; many blog managers prefer email, while others prefer RSS feed subscriptions.

Recently, we encountered this issue within our own offices at Black Mountain Software while RSS-feeding our own blog, and it made us think: If our own staff members don’t know all the different processes for blog subscriptions, our readers probably don’t either. Read more >

Posted in BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe | Leave a comment

High Water Bill Have Your Customer Down?

water-bill copyIf you have the job title of Utility Billing Clerk, you have received – probably too many times to count – a phone call or visit from a customer about a “high” water bill. Usually, the causes of a water bill that reflects significant charges are beyond your control. But your response to the customer can be constructive and informative, helping get to the root of the water bill problem.

First, evaluate common causes of a high water bills:
• A leak that was concealed underground or behind a wall
• Victim to an act of vandalism
• An overestimated current reading or underestimated prior reading
• An incorrect meter reading
• Recent additions such as adding or filling a swimming pool or hot tub
• Addition of, or increase to, landscape and irrigation
• Increase of number of people or guests in the household

How to Mitigate the High Water Bill

If filling a pool was the issue, the customer may qualify to receive a partial credit on their sewer bill if their water account includes sewer billing. Read more >

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How Black Mountain Software Helps Greet A New Hire

It’s done, and now it’s begun. The recruitment process–over. The first impressions–in the distant past. The acceptance agreement–signed and done. And now your new employee is at the front desk, reporting for the first time. What is going through their head? What are they feeling?

This may depend on what has already transpired between her/him and your company. If your workplace culture has made the employee feel warm and welcome throughout the hiring process, it is likely the new employee is positive and excited! And if they felt the environment was warm and inviting, it’s probably an indication that you are positive and excited as well! Read more >

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How To: Have A Positive Attitude in 32 Words

positive thoughtsA Guest Blog for Your Enjoyment…

Have you ever wondered why some people get sick more often than others? Stress has long been attributed to both mental and physical health, but some believe there’s even more to it.

In fact, in my small little spiritual circle, there appear to be members who are immune to everything. This sort of immunity seems to suggest we have a little more control over our mood and destiny than we commonly believe.

In the last century, a Japanese gentleman named Mikao Usui developed a modality to help the willing student realize his potential to help others with healing. Read more >

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