ARB's Docket System Fact Sheet

This page last reviewed September 30, 2008

In 2001, the ARB implemented its first attempt at a docket system to allow stakeholder emails, FAX, and hardcopy comments to Board items.  Because of the cumbersome nature of the maintenance of the database and alerting both ARB staff and commenters, we decided in 2005 to rewrite the system for implementation to begin with the January 2006 Board meeting.  The goal was to maximize transparency for our stakeholders while providing a timely method of communicating to our ARB staff as comments are received by the department.  The system functionality specifications include:
  • An easy-to-find "Send Us Your Comments" top page
  • A system to separately accommodate "formal" (i.e., Board meeting items) vs. "informal" solicitations for comment (e.g. workshops, draft document reviews, etc.)
  • A top page linking to all current solicitaions for comment, a link to the associated docket item key entry form, and the comment's deadline date and time
  • An easy-to-complete stakeholder comment form with mandatory and optional fields
  • A document attachment feature (where attachments are virus scanned before being available for download)
  • An acknowledgement back to the submitter confirming the comment was "timely" or "not timely"
  • An email to the Clerk of the Board and to the ARB program contact alerting both that a comment has been received
  • A list serve established for each docket item for follow-up correspondence (e.g. 15-day notices) 
  • All list serve broadcasts are integrated with ARB's RSS feed, list serve archive by topic, and What's New (i.e., ARB's chronological archive of all public list serve broadcasts)
  • A set of administration screens allowing the Office of Legal Affairs to add, delete and edit docket items as well as approve and disapprove individual comments for posting to the website (note all these transactions are logged for a complete audit trail)
  • An automated process for the update of the website so that all approved comments and associated attachments are viewable
  • An ability to track form letters by volume count and associate the volume count to the initial submittal
  • An ability to link to re-occuring (i.e., identical) electronic comments associated with the initial submittal
  • Docket items are sortable alphabetically by subject or by Board hearing date
  • Comments within the "formal" docket item are sorted chronologically by 45-day notice, comments presented at the Board meeting, 15-day notices 
  • Comments within the "informal" docket item are sorted by meeting date
  • An ability to print out all comments with page break separators into a single PDF file at any time
  • A disclaimer / conditions of use policy (discuss the Google/Yahoo address issue)
  • Compliance with the Government Modernization, Efficiency, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2005 (Chapter 686, Statutes of 2005, Figueroa).
  • Build / maintain a system with no additional hardware or software costs (The system sits on shared servers and all software is open source)

ARB has archived 260 separate docket items since Summer 2000 and adds on average three to four dockets / list serves per month.  Theresa will get us a count of the number of commentors on all OLA and OMB lists.  Since January 2006, we've hosted 114 formal and informal dockets and sent emails to thousands of comment submitters.  Can Glenn get us a count of all comments received under the new system?  

Because the volume of comments varies from month-to-month so too does the monthly cost to maintain the system.  On average we devote ?? staff hours/month.  We like the system as it was built to our specifications, has zero extraneous bells and whistles, zero licensing fees or mandatory vendor-induced updates.  Although the system has been stable for three years, if ever there is need for a system change, this is generally easily accomplished since the system was programmed in-house.  Finally, because it is integrated with our list serve function, the audit trail of all broadcasts is solid and searchable by topic and chronologically.

"One-Up" Link