Tag Archives: City Clerks

Survival Guide for Local Government Budget Season

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org  This microstock required lots of post processing to get the blue tint. I also needed a bounce card to  get more detail in the glasses.

We said the “B” word: Budgets. They can be…well, a bugger. Long, complicated, and requiring a lot of analysis. A few “B” words came to our mind when thinking of budget: “boring,” “baffling,” and “bothersome.” But that’s ok, because we’ve pulled together a list of local government best budget practices that are the exact opposite–short and sweet–to assist with your budgeting success.

 

A Clerk’s Survival Guide to Government Budget Planning

Determine What Elements to Include In Your Annual Budget.

Planning the annual budget is a long process, with many daunting tasks and thoughtful considerations. Some budgets are fairly straight forward, while others are specific and complex documents. Read more >

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Ease the Pain of ACA Reporting Requirements

The_Affordable_Care_Act

It’s every agency’s nightmare: more, new or changing federal reporting requirements. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, reporting requirements are in effect, and we have until the beginning of next year to determine how to effectively and accurately report a variety of health care and employee information or face penalties and excise taxes.

In order to successfully fulfill the ACA reporting requirements, it is important to understand what ACA reporting is, when it is required, what it involves, and what your software vendor is doing to assist with an easy transition. This most certainly will affect your administrative process, and the software tools and support to comply will be more important than ever. Read more >

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When “Good” Back-Ups Go Bad—Will Your Data Really Survive An Unexpected Loss?

At BMS, we want our tools and services to empower our clients, and provide them with unparalleled functionality and trusted reliability. We strive to craft products that can be counted on to perform seamlessly each and every day. Sometimes, however, our clients face technological glitches that are outside of our control, resulting in unexpected data loss. Some causes of this loss include outdated technology, power outages, or viruses/malware. Regardless of the cause, a data loss can set their operations back days, and sometimes even weeks, thereby costing invaluable time and money.

BMS knows that, while data loss can happen to any client, the resulting headaches are 100% preventable. Read more >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Products, City Clerk Cafe, Cloud Computing, Office Efficiency, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on When “Good” Back-Ups Go Bad—Will Your Data Really Survive An Unexpected Loss?

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 , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Your Customers’ Information Really Secure? Inadequate Policies May Be Putting You at Risk

The Dreaded Rate Increase – How Can Your Team Better Deal With Customer Fallout?

As the two most dreaded words for a utility billing professional, “rate increase” stands as a polarizing and frustrating situation for both the customers and the front-line city workers. With the changing economy, our cities, towns, and municipalities face the struggle to provide the most affordable services to the public, while also maintaining the best equipment, standards and practices. However, we also must realize that, despite economic recovery, many of our customers still feel misplaced resentment toward any entity that they perceive as adding to the conundrum of their rapidly decreasing take-home pay. While rate increases are inevitable for long-term service quality, your team also needs an action plan to best address customer concerns and frustrations. 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 >

Posted in Best Practices, BMS Staff, City Clerk Cafe, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on How Black Mountain Software Helps Greet A New Hire

Transition: Preparing for the Workforce

7K0A0879Whether you are a post-grad student looking to enter the workforce for the first time, or in the process of making one of the seven (on average) career transitions most people make in a lifetime, transition can be a very difficult and nerve-racking undertaking.

Transition is physical, psychological, and mental. A successful job transition means functionally succeeding at all the following factors:

  • Adopting the organization’s culture, vision, and methods
  • Making new relationships
  • Establishing your credibility, knowledge, and skill set
  • Learning a new job
  • Establishing and meeting the expectations of a new supervisor
  • Learning to manage your time
  • Setting new goals, objectives, and deliverables
  • Seeking feedback
  • Understanding cultural norms of a new organization (how meetings are conducted, understanding schedules, adapting to new management styles, and learning how to fit in)

With so many factors that contribute to a successful immersion, it’s no wonder it can feel overwhelming starting a new job! Read more >

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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 >
    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Tech Tips, City Clerk Cafe | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Must-Have Apps for Government Office Employees

    Getting the Most Out of Your Government Conference Experience

    Autumn is fast approaching and alongside it comes many exciting things: colorful Montana foliage, brisk nights, a new school year, new budgets, and…conferences.

    In order to make the most of the bustling September conference schedule, we like to put our heads together and make a plan of attack.

    Previously, we’ve talked about how conference attendees can maximize their conference experience with these five tips:

    • Navigate through the chaos.  Knowing that conferences are jam-packed with information and activities, determine a plan of action ahead of time.  List out the vendors you want to see and the seminars you want to attend ahead of time, so you don’t forget and miss out!
    Read more >
    Posted in Best Practices, BMS Events, City Clerk Cafe, Small Cities | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Getting the Most Out of Your Government Conference Experience

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