The emergence of the Coronavirus required the City of Corning, NY to do something it had not been asked to do before in a public crisis; keep constituents informed and community services functioning using a mostly-remote municipal staff. “We were not prepared to work from home when the order came for us to [leave],” said Mary Farmer, City Clerk. “Each department head put a plan together for their staff and we all did the best we could with what we had,” she added.
A major challenge faced by Farmer’s team was maintaining access to information, tools and business processes that were essential to completing important tasks for the city and constituents. It was equally vital that the public knew where to find important information and could easily get to it online.
Farmer found that she needed to split her time between home and her office to ensure she had everything she needed to do her job and serve the community. “I personally did everything I could from home and came in on the weekends and weeknights when no one was in the building to produce requested documents,” says Farmer.
Farmer discovered that the pandemic emphasized the true value of investment the City has made in working with General Code and their web-accessible tools and solutions –specifically their eCode360® online code and PubDocs™ module for uploading public content. During the work-at-home order, General Code provided proactive support in a number of ways, from the software development team helping to merge her PubDocs and eCode, to special daily webinars presented by the training team with tips on working smarter during the pandemic.
Personal customer support behind those solutions was key to helping Farmer’s team stay productive and responsive during a difficult time. “General Code’s staff absolutely made my life less challenging during the work-at-home time and since I have returned to the office. No matter who I work with, they always call or email after we have worked on something to make sure I am happy and the process is working well,” says Farmer.
Planning for the future
Farmer believes the remote work experience has revealed areas where the City can be more proactive and prepared for a future event. She acknowledged that the City’s preparedness plan can be improved to make the City more flexible and nimble and to ensure that everyone has the technology they need to work remotely and have access to their server. Farmer looks forward to continued collaboration with General Code as well. She has encouraged the City’s Planning and Codes Department to see a demonstration of General Code’s MapLink™ interactive zoning map solution which she believes could expand the City’s capabilities for planning and managing property use. “I’m very impressed with what it can do,” she said.
General Code helped the City of Corning, NY better serve the public with reliable and accessible code solutions. Learn how we can help your community by viewing our special “Emerging Resilient” webinar, 2020: What Just Happened?