Goals are to reduce paper use, create efficiency and modernize work


CITY HALL – Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council today announced the integration of Microsoft Surface tablets into the Council’s Stated meeting as a means of testing how technology can help Members view or easily search documents, reduce the use of volumes of paper and the preparation time involved with copying and distribution, and modernize the way the Council conducts its business. The use of tablets, along with QR codes for looking up documents, was first tested during a hearing of the Council’s technology committee in June. Today is the first trial run at a Stated meeting.


This latest digital effort reflects the Speaker and Council’s commitment to building a Council that is technologically agile and that can engage the public both online and offline. In 2015, the Speaker announced Council 2.0, a roadmap for digital inclusion and open government that called for testing new ways of making the Council more accessible to diverse New Yorkers.  Results from this plan include the introduction of a plain-language, mobile-friendly website, labs.council.nyc, the integration of texting in Participatory Budgeting and the release of a constituency services dataset.


“The Council must be present and engaged online, across all the platforms we find diverse New Yorkers on, and this requires us to upgrade the way we work and interact,” said Speaker Mark-Viverito. “I am thrilled with this historic effort to embed digital and environmentally-friendly practices that will allow us to be more effective policy makers and public servants, and I thank Microsoft for being such an enthusiastic technology partner.”


Microsoft loaned the Council more than 60 tablets and other equipment to perform today’s first-ever paperless Stated meeting.


This Friday, tablets will also be integrated into the Council’s Sanitation committee hearing.


Following the test at Stated and the hearing, the Council will study feedback from Members and also work to advance the public’s digital experience with Council meetings.