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North Chicago closer to going paperless with purchase of tablets

Maurice Brown IT director North Chicago City Hall gives Mayor LeRockingham tips using his new Dell tablet. | Judy Masterson/Sun-Times

Maurice Brown, IT director at North Chicago City Hall, gives Mayor Leon Rockingham tips on using his new Dell tablet. | Judy Masterson/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 15, 2014 3:47AM

North Chicago elected officials have adopted a handy piece of technology − the tablet PC.

The city has purchased 12 Dell Venue 10s in an effort to cut down on paper and streamline communication.

“I think it will be a big benefit to the city,” said Mayor Leon Rockingham, who checked his email on his new mobile PC on a recent lunch stop at a local McDonald’s.

“It’s so much easier than dragging my laptop everywhere,” said Rockingham, who also juggles information as a member of the Illinois Municipal League and Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. “It’s easier to keep on top of agendas and attachments without all the paperwork.”

The new tablets, which cost approximately $500 apiece, including keyboards and other peripherals, were distributed to members of the City Council on Monday, Jan. 6.

Maurice Brown, the city’s IT director, said City Hall has long used Dell and Microsoft products.

“We’re a Dell shop here,” Brown said. “Their customer service is pretty good. We felt the Venue was a good fit. The cost was competitive and the features were there.”

“They’ll help cut down on paper,” Brown said. “Eventually everything will be electronic − correspondence, ordinances, everything the council needs to review. We’re moving our legislative body to a paperless environment.”

Fourth Ward Alderman Bobby Allen, who is storing five or six boxes of city paperwork in his garage, said the tablets represent money well spent.

“It’s a good idea,” Allen said. “Now I don’t have to go looking for a piece of paper. We’ll see a return on copying costs alone.”

Rockingham said he wants to also put tablets in the hands of city administrators. Council members are attending one-on-one training to learn how to use their new devices.

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