From an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, November 30, 2004
..But if the county adopts a plan put forth by Commissioner Forrest Claypool to utilize available commercial technology for the electronic recording, processing and transferring of documents -- which would enable it to cut back on cumbersome, paper-generating processes that eat up overtime costs and slow efficiency -- it will at least advance the idea of streamlining government rather than boosting taxes as a first option. Claypool, chairman of the board's Information Technology and Automation Committee, says if the county used E-Recording and other technologies in three offices alone -- the Cook County recorder of deeds, clerk of the circuit court and sheriff -- it would save $35 million annually.
Calling the county's approach to technology "incremental and haphazard," he says the savings or generated funds will be even greater if technology is applied more broadly to county government. Augmented by convenience fees for users of these services, the savings would, he projects, be in excess of the estimated shortfall.
Other county governments have greatly benefitted from full or partial use of electronic filings and digital scannings and such. Miami-Dade was able to reduce staff by 19.5 percent and cases the staff deals with by half. While it's easy to get lost in all the numbers and assume that what works for one jurisdiction would work for ours, there is no denying the need for county government to join the 21st century.