System Documentation - 2006-03: ARB Docket System Desk Procedures for BARCU

Docket System - Documentation
How to Navigate the List Serve Set Up and Comment Admin. Functions
This page updated March 1, 2006

The ARB's Docket System involves two subsystems: a list serve set up and edit function and secondly a public comment maintenance function. BARCU is the sole program entity within the ARB having access to these admin functions, and given the size of BARCU, it was agreed at our February 7th meeting that all BARCU staff would become familiar with both elements of the new system and that Bill Fell would build the first draft of these desk procedures.
A. Log in to the Docket System
1.   If you do not have this bookmarked, go to ARBInside databases (see Att. 1), scroll down to docket system and click on "Docket System."
2.   Your user ID and password are identical to that used to FTP documents to the webserver or to generate a list serve broadcast (see Att. 2).
B. Add a New List or Pick a Function
1.   From the Docket System main screen (see Att. 3), you can start a new list by typing in the new comment list name and hitting "Submit."
2.   For any "active" list, edits are handled by clicking on "Modify a Comment List" and then selecting the list that needs an edit (see Att. 4). If instead, the list is "archived" (see Att. 5), this means that it is not actively available for the public to access, but the item is still in the docket system database. "Majordomo" in the title of these two attachments refers to the spftware used to run the list serve database.
3.   Active lists can also be viewed by clicking on the "Link to the Active Comment Lists" which takes us to the webpage that the public sees. This is the webpage that BARCU must ultimately view to test the results of its comment list maintenance activities. This is what the public sees, and obviously, this is what has to be correct. We call this: bclist.php
4.   The second function of the docket system is the management of public comments received and this is available under the link "Manage Comments."
C. Edit a Comment List
1.   Click on "Modify a Comment List" and click on the "List Name" for the list of interest. If it cannot be found, click on "Archived" lists to find all lists in the database but not currently available for public input. You can toggle between the active and archived lists of lists.
2.   Click on the desired "List Name" and you get the edit screen (see Att. 6)
3.   The following itemizes what each of the fields means

a. Start/Late These drop down menus set the start and end dats for comment periods and the end date and time will display for our users in the last column of the bclist.php webpage.
b. Board Date This dropdown will identify the start date for the board meeting and will be used to sort the comlogs in reverse chronological order
c. Comment Period Comments are either for 45-day notices, 15-day notices of which we understand there can be up to three of these albeit rare. A comment period may be set up for a non-reg item or an emergency item which can be regulatory or non-regulatory.
d. Descritpion Up to 150 characters can be entered here. This is the text that will display on the description field for the comlog.
e. URL For regulatory items, please enter the regact/ subdirectory/ subdirectory.htm webpage. for non-regulatory items, please enter the address for the notice for the comment period or in some cases (e.g. ry2006) to the program website hosted by the operational division. Note the syntax to be used for the link. The system will assume you are linking to / and therefore this machine naming is not be be added in this box.
f. Text This is the string of text that will be linked on the bclist.php webpage to the URL provided above.
g. Board Item Subject... As many characters as you want to put here and this text will immediately follow the text placed in item "f." above and the combination of f. and g. will appear on bclist.php
h. Inc email  ???
i. Archived  ???
j. Cancel Closes this edit window and returns you to the previous window.
k. Delete Removes the comment list you are currently in chron job from the list of available lists that can ever be accessed by BARCU.
l. Update This invokes the edits that you have placed on the screen and thereby changes the database and reschedules your request with the new information.
m. History This will show all historical information for this list.
D. Public Input Access to the Docket System
1.   To Make a Comment:

The public can find the button off the ARBOutside homepage or any of the subordinate webpages using the two or three column template. This is where the public will start in their attempt to file a public comment on any "commentable" item going to the Board (see Att. 7 and 8)
E. How BARCU Can Manage Comments
1.   From the top Top Page (see Att. 3), click on "Manage Comments" and you will get the screen to select the comment list of interest and the category of comments from that list that you are interested in managing (see Att. 9)
2.   A description of the categories include:

a. New Once the user submits a comment, it is added to the database but it has not been approved by BARCU and therefore is still considered "new"
b. Posted This is the status of a comment that has been approved by BARCU as a posted or a duplicate, etc.
c. Deleted This is the status of a comment that was never approved but was deleted immediately (e.g., the first two items for schoolbus06)
d. Posted then Deleted This is the statis for an item that was once posted to the comlogs but later removed from that list. Note that the number assigned to that item in the comlog stays with that transaction and is not reused.
e. All This is the summation of all of the above transactions
3.   Having selected a list and the comment status type of interest for that list, you can "manage comments," view the "comments log" (comlog) for the selected list, or blank out the screen by clicking "reset form."
4.   Having selected, for example (see Att. 10), verpro06 and "New Comments," and clicked on "Manage Comments," we get the edit screen menu which in this case only has one comment awaiting COTB processing (see Att. 11). The screen is titled "Board Comment Selection and Duplicate Comments Approval Screen.
5.   Starting from this "approval screen," BARCU can change the status from "new" to posted, deleted or posted then deleted. Directly from this screen, BARCU can associate this comment to a previously posted item. This is called for when new item is literally identical to the previously posted and BARCU calls these "form letters." Simply type in the number of the previously posted item considered to be the first item received of this form letter type. Note that for any rulemaking, there may be multple form letters in operation and therefore BARCU employees may need to keep track of multiple "first item's received."
6.   If the comment is not a form letter, then click on the item number identified in the first column. In the attached example (see Att 11), click on the number 1. This reveals the actual comment (see Att. 12) sitting in the database.

The contents of a comment includes: First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Subject, and the Comment. Optional fields include: Phone number, Affiliation and an Attachment.

The "Attachment URL" is the path to the document attached by the submitter after the file name has been changed so the ARB docket system can find the file (see "Miscellaneous things to know" below). The original file name is the name given to the file at the time of submittal to ARB.

You will see that the header for this comment provides the comment list's name and the number of the comment. At the bottom of the formatted comment, is the area the BARCU will use to manage the comment.
7.   On the "comment you selected to manage" screen, BARCU can fill in fields at the bottom of the screen.
a.   BARCU will select a "Status."

Items received by the database are initially coded as "new." They are in the database awaiting managment by BARCU. The status will be changed to posted, deleted, or posted then deleted. This status type determines whether the comment will reflect in the comlog, and if so, how it will reflect as a status type will be associated with each comment. Deleted items that were never posted will never show up in a comlog
b.   BARCU will select the "Comment Type."

The Comment Type is"Web" if it was submitted by the commentor via the electronic system. The Comment Type is "Other-Pre-meeting" id the item was submitted as hardcopy to ARB and then submitted to the database by BARCU. Harcopy includes U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, DHL, etc. or FAX, or an email that was subsequently scanned into a hardcopy. The Comment Type is "At Board Hearing" if the item was received at the Board meeting. For these latter items, Tom Jennings suggested the commitment language be added to the comlog that thte comment will be available for viewing by the public within one week of the Board meeting.
c.   BARCU will select a "Comment Period."

This selection will effect the content of comlog column #4 called "Comment Period."
d.   BARCU may enter a number in the field titled "Duplicates Comment."

For some rulemakings, the COTB received hundreds of form letters and this will continue with the new automated system. Although each comment will get a separately assigned number in the database, COTB does not want these "duplicates" or "form letters" to show repeatedly on the comlog. Instead, the first form letter will be posted to the comlog and all future submittals will be assigned a number placed in the "Duplicates Comment" field corresponding to the virtual number assigned to the first item received. If for example the 19th comment received is then duplicated 302 times. The number "19" will be placed in the "Duplicates Comment" box. On the corresponding comlog the number 302 will display in the right-hand most column, for a total of 303 identical comments.
e.   BARCU may enter a number in the field titled "Non-Docket System Faxes and Form Letters"

The COTB needed a way to simply count faxes, post cards, etc. and get this statistic into the comlog associated with a particular comment without having to actually enter all these items into the database. So, if a comment list has a comment number 17 for which there are 237 identical faxes, BARCU can simply count the faxes, edit the comment #17 and place the number 237 into that box. This will then represent 238 identical comments including item #17.

How does this differ from item "d" above? In item "d" the duplicates were entered into the databse by the submitters and therefore were not considered hardcopies. In this item "e" the only thing that makes it into the database is the number of items that were hand counted by BARCU staff.
f.   BARCU may enter in a Comment in the "COTB Comment" box.

This comment area is for ARB staff eyes only. This is a space available to explain decisions made on a particular comment wuch as why it was tagges as "posted then deleted." It can be used to track phone calls with the commentor or with other ARB staff. Whatever might be helpful to BARCU staff is available for this area. Keep ALL comments professional.
g.   Submit changes and the database has been updated as directed by BARCU.
8.    Subsequent edits to a submitted and "approved" comment.

BARCU can gain access to a record at any time andd edit any of the fields listed in item #7 above. 
F. Public and ARB Staff Access to Docket System Outputs
1.   To view Comments, one must get to the appropriate "Comments Log" aka "comlog." OIS has developed an automated comlog menu webpage (see Att. 13).

Once this feature is turned on, the public will be able to access comments via:

* the regact.htm webpage link to comlogs
* the individual regact/subdirectory/subdirectory.htm webpage such as for ets2006
* all.htm
2.   In addition to the above access points to the comlog menu webpage or to a specific comlog, ARB staff can to into the ARBInside ARB Databases webpage and scroll down to "Docket System" and clink on the link After 2005 and this will bring up the menu.
3.   The comlog menu (see Att. 13)

This document like all screens in the Docket System is built on the fly based upon the then current contents of the database. This menu will list all comlogs in alphabetic order by list name. If anyone needs the same list sorted in reverse chronological order, please click on the header on the second column called "Sort by Hearing Date." In all cases, the 150 character description entered C.2.d. will be shown in the column "Item Description." Finally, a "more info" link is added to each description linking to the URL provided above in C.2.e.
4.   The comlog (see Att. 14)

The contents of this screen include:

* the virtual number (see "Miscellaneous things to know" below);
* the Last Name, First Name, and Affiliation provided by the commentor;
* the Subject provided by the commentor;
* the Comment Period provided in C.2.c;
* the date and time the submit button was hit to forward the comment to the database; and
* a number of additional form letters, if applicable.
G. Miscellaneous things to know 
1.   Numbering Scheme
a.   The comments received are given a system generated number sequentially assigned. As a regulatory item moves through the 45-day to 15-day to second 15-day process, the numbering scheme continues to augment rather than starting over with each phase.
b.   Virtual numbers and "posted then deleted": In addition to the above number, a virtual number is assigned to every comment referenced from a comlog. Note that this sequentially assigned number may be defferent from the number shown on the comlog for that item. The COTB required, for example, that if an item is posted then deleted, the number originally assigned to that comment must be retained.
c.   Deleted before posting: If a comment is received and then deleted before ever being posted (see the first two items received for schoolbus06), then these were never assigned a virtual number. They are retained the the database and are retrievable by BARCU by selecting the list name, the status of "deleted comments" and clicking on the button "Manage Comments."
2.   Attachment file names are always changed before posting to the list serve box as we must ensure that all file names are lower case, no spaces in the name, no special characters, and the file names are unique. This requirement means that the original file name will always differ from the Attachment URL file name as we will always append a location string that ensures the file name is unique.
3.    "Additional Form Letters" as listed on the comlog, if applicable, is the summation of the form letters actually entered into the database (i.e., "Duplicate Comments" plus the number of  "Non-Docket System Faxes and Form Letters" (see above items E.7.d and E.7.e).
For further information regarding the system, please contact Bill Fell at (916) 322-3260.

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