Cook County Clerk David Orr was honored today with a Public Sector Industry Leadership Award during a luncheon with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in Orlando, Fla., in recognition of the significant technological advances made this past year at the Clerk’s office.
In an effort to streamline business processes, the Clerk’s office acquired an accounting system that seamlessly integrates cashiering, inventory and document imaging.
For example, several computers, programs and employees were involved in the past every time someone wanted a birth certificate or a tax document. The process was often laborious and lengthy. Now, with a few keystrokes, these tasks are completed instantly.
“Although our customer service was always good, these improvements drastically simplified transactions while improving accountability and saving taxpayer dollars,” Orr said. “The more convenient we make services, the better we are doing our job as public servants.”
Some of the highlights of this innovative technology include:
- Annual savings of more than $1 million, after the project pays for itself in 3 years;
- The non-election staff is down 10% through attrition, or 19 positions, due to this technology;
- 26 million birth, marriage and death records dating to 1871 have been digitized so that document requests can be processed instantly at the point of sale;
- Genealogists will be able to download historical digital records after the summer launch of the Cook County Clerk’s Genealogy Web site, which is an expansion of an existing revenue source;
- Election materials for suburban Cook’s nearly 2,300 precincts are now catalogued via an automated inventory system, bolstering quality control and assuring each polling place will have the supplies it needs on Election Day.
- All types of delinquent tax documents – sold, open and forfeited – can now be processed for walk-in customers in less than 15 minutes. In the past, only transactions for sold taxes could be handled while customers waited. Document production for walk-in customers is up 50%;
- Bar codes included on all tax bills and other documents eliminate redundant data entry, which greatly reduces staff overtime and allows for improved accuracy.
The integrated system, executed by partner InterDyn-LANAC Technology, went into operation last year in three divisions of the Clerk’s office – Real Estate Tax Services, Vital Records and Elections.
The Clerk’s office was selected over dozens of government agencies, educational institutions and healthcare providers from around the country to win the award. Some of the other winners include the Associated Press, the United States Air Force, Western Michigan University, and the Dallas Cowboys.