Franklin’s Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to approve the purchase of 12 Samsung Galaxy Tablets. The tablets, which will be provided to each member of the board along with Kevin McGonigal, the Town's IT Administrator, Town Manager Sam Greenwood, Assistant to the Manager, Summer Woodard, Town Clerk, Janet Anderson and Town Planner Mike Grubermann.
During Monday night's meeting, under the recommendations of McGonigal, the board approved to initially purchase 12 tablets. Greenwood suggested for the town to consider purchasing more tablets in the future in order to supply each department head with one.
The Samsung Galaxy tablet is also less expensive than the iPad 2. The Town Board approved the initial investment of around $5,000 to be taken from the contingency fund to purchase the tablets at an estimated cost of $450 per device.
After discussion with McGonigal, the board of Alderman voted to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Tab with Android instead of the iPad 2 for numerous reasons. McGonigal stated that although the iPad 2 is the “cooler” tablet, and more popular, it is not practical and efficient from a business perspective. He also informed the board that the town does not currently have any Apple products and that he is not familiar with their products, making it nearly impossible for him to service them as needed.
The Samsung Galaxy tab's structure is also easier to manage for users who may be less technologically inclined, and McGonigal stated that he is confident that he could teach any town employee how to effectively utilize the tablet during a simple two hour training session.
The tablets are being purchased with the intent to stay current with technological advances and allow the town to continue developing economically. McGonigal informed the board that a major positive in purchasing the new software revolves around its convenience. “You can connect the tablet to your computer and use it as if it is a hard drive. You will be able to access files that would normally be on a computer any where you are,” said McGonigal. “You can have quicker, easier access to documents and be able to send them to your tablets just moments before meetings.”
Town attorney, John Henning Jr. advised the board that they should use the tablets responsibly. Aldermen Farrell Jamison and Billy Mashburn expressed concern about the lack of case law pertaining to the changing in technology and public record laws. As it stands today, there is little case law to go on when deciding what elements of the tablets would be subject to the laws. Henning noted that as long as employees treated the tablets with the same regard as a work computer or any other town purchased product, then there shouldn’t be a problem.