At City Hall, where much business is still transacted with 19th century technology like carbon paper, most aldermen on Tuesday stepped further into the current era when they received computer tablets courtesy of an $80,500 payment by the Chicago taxpayers.
City Council members lined up for their new gear — Dell Latitude 10 tablets running Microsoft Windows 8, a keyboard, docking station and stylus — after a committee meeting. The total tab is $80,500, including other costs such as setup fees.
Although each of the 50 aldermen already have several city-issued computers in their City Hall and ward offices, the tablets can be used both through Wi-Fi in council chambers and on the street — if aldermen pony up for wireless access. The tablets feature 311 software that will allow aldermen to immediately submit requests for service, such as replacing streetlights, trimming trees and painting over graffiti.
That's pretty technologically progressive at City Hall, where ordinances and resolutions are filed on paper, legal paper is still used, and budgets and ordinances are distributed in stacks of paper several inches high.
Some more tech-savvy aldermen, like Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st, and Ameya Pawar, 47th, declined the new devices, saying they are able to use their own tablets or phones. They can access 311 via various programs, like the free Chicago Works app, developed by Pawar and a childhood friend.
Moreno noted that his colleagues got "the technology of our time, and you had to sign off that you received it, and the signoff was on carbon-copy paper."
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