First of all thank you for your continued support and participation in GIPAW. I am very much looking forward to another year of networking and sharing ideas with this great group of people. The strength of this wonderful organization comes from the participation and dedication of its members to make a difference in Wisconsin Government.
I have a number of exciting things to pass along to the group. First of all the first survey through the new website is posted and ready for your entity to fill out. This survey is to find out the planned projects for your entity for 2014 and 2015, in hopes that we can tailor some of our conference sessions to those topics of highest interest. The salary survey will also be out there soon. You can also now renew your membership and make any other GIPAW related payments such as conference registration and training with a credit card through the website.
I would also like to take a minute to explain the bulletin board associated with the new website. I’ve gotten comments from a few members that it isn’t as easy to add comments as it was with the Listserv. You still get an e-mail with the initial question asked by a GIPAW member and it has a link that takes you directly to where you can comment on the website if you are already logged on to the GIPAW website. If you aren’t logged on there is an extra step since you have to actually log in to the website to add a comment but the really big tradeoff to that is the initial question and all correspondence related to it will be in one spot on the website for future reference. I encourage you to start looking at the GIPAW website on a regular basis so you become familiar with it and please add your two cents worth to the questions that have been asked. We’d like to see the new bulletin board be as active as the Listserv used to be.
To log on to the website go to www.gipaw.org and log in using your first initial + last name (so for Jane Buckman, it is jbuckman). Your password is your last name, unless you have changed it since our initial go-live. If you have any trouble logging in, please use the “Contact Us” link so we can assist you. The new website and bulletin board are different and like everything else in life there are pros and cons to the new method. It's sometimes hard to teach old dogs new tricks but since we are all in a technology profession, we should all be familiar with, and willing to embrace change.
I know calendars fill up quickly so please pencil in the main GIPAW events for 2014 which are:
• May 21st – 23rd, 2014 Annual Conference in Green Bay, WI
• September 25th – 26th , General Meeting in Wausau, WI
I would like to welcome our new member to the board of directors, Amy Kaup from Wood County, in addition to extending my thanks to Tom Miller for his service on the board. Tom has been a very active member in GIPAW as long as I can remember and I want to also wish him well on his upcoming retirement from county government and hope he has a great time with his next chapter. We are also very lucky to have Joe Wenninger and Tom Boron splitting some of the annual conference planning duties as well as Dave Hayden who is doing double duty as a board member as well as setting up the vendor show for the annual conference.
The 2014 GIPAW officers are:
• Janet Huppert Chairperson
• Ruth Otto Vice-Chairperson
• Terry DeBrabander Treasurer
• Laura Workman Secretary
I also have an update on the WCA – GIPAW collaboration project. The GIPAW board of directors met with the WCA board on December 6 in Green Lake, WI. The purpose of the meeting was for the two groups to get to know each other and start the conversation on how we can collaborate on projects. Both organizations have a common interest in collaborating and finding more efficient and collective ways to address common needs that face all Counties and government entities. Both organizations have great strengths and if we can utilize the strengths that each have, there could be some great benefits. Some of the things we will be looking at are how the membership in GIPAW can be increased as well as projects that multiple entities are going to be working on that WCA could possibly help with the RFP process and negotiating prices on. WCAs vision is to work to provide solutions that could be used by every County/City so that we have not only consistency between what we are using, but purchasing power and we can put ourselves in a position of not addressing issues as an individual entities, but as an extension of something larger. As we try to do more with less, this concept will become increasingly important. There is also going to be a WCA meeting in Madison on February 4th and 5th that they have invited us to. Amy Kaup and Terry DeBrabander are planning to attend this meeting to represent GIPAW.
The annual membership dues are due 1/31/14 and are still $50 per entity per year. The dues go towards putting on two great events per year. The dues are for your entire entity and also give you unlimited access to the bulletin board and other member information on the website. One of our Board members said he tells his staff that if someone else hasn’t already done what they are trying to do, they probably shouldn’t be doing it. I’m all in favor of not having to recreate the wheel. The bulletin board is the perfect place to find out how others are doing what you are trying to do. Your entity membership will expire on 3/31/14 and your access will be restricted from the member items for nonpayment of dues.
This past year attendance was really good at both of our events and a number of new people joined GIPAW. I met one of them at our meeting up in Bayfield County. She had been in her position of doing computer support for I believe 7 years but this was the first time she attended a GIPAW event. She thought the organization was just terrific and she was kicking herself for not joining sooner. She said she couldn’t believe this group existed and she hadn’t taken advantage of being a member. If you know someone that is new to WI government IT or for whatever reason has never been a member of GIPAW please send this introductory letter to them. I have personally found that a follow up call or e-mail can be the encouragement someone needs to become a member or attend the annual conference or fall meeting. I have always found the GIPAW organization to be very welcoming of new people. We have all been there and know that growing this organization can only be a positive thing for all of us.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me or any of the board members throughout the year. Our goal is to provide resources to help you be successful in your jobs and to have a little fun along the way. We are always looking for suggestions of topics you would like to see presented at our next meeting so if you have one please get that to us as well.
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