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Grand Rapids Announces New Public Meeting Portal for City Boards and Commissions

posted Apr 6, 2016, 12:54 PM by Marie Cimochowicz
The City of Grand Rapids today announced it is offering residents increased access to public meeting materials for the City’s Boards and Commissions through a cloud-based public meeting portal. The portal is part of Accela Agenda and Minutes – a civic engagement solution for government. The portal includes web pages featuring descriptions, attachments and meeting history. It also contains an advanced search engine and self - service distribution lists.

Screenshot of Meeting Portal

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals launched the portal last year. The City now has expanded the program to include the Agenda and Minutes from more boards and commissions. The public can access City Commission meeting agenda packets and official proceedings records back to 2001. Functionality allows searches by keywords like business or project name. Advanced search options further allow users to filter results by document type and date range. As items pass through many meetings, web page visitors will see links to related cases on item web pages. 

“The meeting portal offers greater accessibility and transparency. We intend to add more Boards and Commissions to the Agenda and Minutes solution over the next two years,” said Steve Guitar, communications director.

Before its launch, previous access to the City’s meeting agendas and minutes included 300-page packets with obscure navigation. The new system allows users to view an item from start to finish on a single page, including meeting results. A self-service sign-up for meeting distribution lists is also available. Guitar said that subscribers will receive an automated email when the City posts an agenda packet of their choosing. Users can add themselves to this distribution list when creating an account on the public meeting portal website. 

"When Grand Rapids wanted to upgrade its board and commission processes with the latest technology and provide greater access and transparency for its residents, they selected Accela," said Daryl Blowes, Accela's sr. vice president and general manager of engagement solutions. 

"Our Agenda and Minutes solution will help the City streamline every aspect of meeting preparation and execution, from development of agendas, to displaying supporting documentation during meetings, to instantly publishing meeting materials and transcripts online. The solution will provide Grand Rapids with the efficiency they were looking for, while helping the City better engage with the community." 

The public meeting portal , where citizens can access agenda and minutes documents , is currently available at or on the main City website