Help the city clerk save trees

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Column by Jim Clark

This is the year 2011, the 11th year of the 21st century (or 12th year, depending on whether you count 2000 as part of the old or new century).

Will someone please send a note to the Ocala City Clerk’s office and let them know?

Three or four times a week, for several months, we receive a fax from the city notifying us of the upcoming public meetings and events. It’s sort of a Sunshine Law thing, making sure people like us know when the meetings are.

That’s two or three pages, three or four times a week, coming in to our fax machine and printing out.

Finally, we got tired of it, so last Friday I took a copy of the fax and headed off to City Hall on my way home to ask that we be switched to e-mail. After all, we get the same list from the county for its meetings, and it’s e-mailed regularly. Surely the city could do the same thing.

One of the people in the office commented as I left, “See if you can find out who’s killing those trees.” It was a telling statement … we don’t need to be wasting all that paper.

I found the clerk’s office easily and went in. The woman said she would be glad to take us off the fax list, but then said, “We don’t e-mail these.”

They don’t e-mail? Are you for real? This is the electronic age, and the city clerk can’t e-mail that information? Welcome to Ocala city government!

You would think that the city would welcome the chance to e-mail this information. Then the city wouldn’t have to go through the process of faxing the information. It’s a lot easier to press a button and send an e-mail.

When the woman in the clerk’s office was looking for my name on the fax machine, so she could delete it, she read aloud all those who get those faxes. As she’s reading the list, I’m standing there thinking about all that paper that’s being wasted.

City commissioners ought to be asking the clerk about the efficiency in the office. Residents of Ocala, of which I’m one, have never been enthralled with the operation of government in the city. For me, this is just another reason to vote to make some changes in the operation of the city.

So let’s get together, city residents. After all, the tree we save might just be yours.


Jim Clark is the editor of South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.